Magazine article Black Issues in Higher Education

Appeals Court Rejects Grad Student's Discrimination Suit in Michigan

Magazine article Black Issues in Higher Education

Appeals Court Rejects Grad Student's Discrimination Suit in Michigan

Article excerpt

ANN ARBOR, Mich. -- The state Court of Appeals has refused to reinstate a racial discrimination suit by a former graduate student who claimed the University of Michigan rejected his dissertation and denied him a doctorate because he is Black.

In a unanimous decision, the three-judge panel found no factual basis for claims Philip Emeagwali filed against the university and individual faculty members.

In 1987, Michigan accepted Emeagwali as a pre-candidate for its civil engineering doctoral program that included a fellowship that covered tuition and provided him with a monthly stipend, court records show.

Between then and 1991, he completed 35 graduate credits and won a 1989 prize for significant achievements in the application of supercomputers to scientific and engineering problems.

After he twice failed his qualifying exams in civil engineering, he applied for a joint doctoral program in civil engineering and scientific computing. The university agreed to let him submit his dissertation for review to determine whether it deserved a doctorate. The dissertation failed.

He then sued for racial discrimination and for breach of a contract to award him a doctorate. …

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