A former administrator at Millersville University who sued the college in August, 2018, for racial discrimination has settled for $170,000, court records obtained through Pennsylvania’s Right to Know Law show.
Candice Baldwin, now the director for Johns Hopkins University’s Hop-In program, accused Millersville of firing her nine months into her employment as assistant vice president for student success and retention in March, 2017, because she is black, according to court documents.
She filed the federal lawsuit in the Eastern District Court of Pennsylvania in Allentown claiming racial discrimination and retaliation. She and the university signed a settlement agreement in October, 2019.
Millersville denied Baldwin’s claims, and the university maintained no admission of liability in the agreement. Spokeswoman Janet Kacskos repeated that when asked for comment. The settlement amount, she added, will come from the state, as Millersville is a public institution.
Baldwin’s lawsuit accused her supervisor, Brian Hazlett, who still works at Millersville as vice president for student affairs and enrollment management, of treating her “poorly” compared to Baldwin’s white colleagues, and his “discriminatory treatment” interfered with her job ability to perform her job.
When Baldwin reported her concerns to Hazlett, he “belittled and harassed” her, Baldwin’s complaint states. She then reported Hazlett’s behavior to human resources.
About a week later in early November, 2016, Hazlett extended Baldwin’s six-month probationary period due to “supposed performance concerns,” the complaint states. That’s despite a glowing performance review less than three months earlier, according to the lawsuit.
A mediation on Millersville’s campus was scheduled for late February, 2017, but when Baldwin arrived, she was told she was suspended with pay and benefits, according to court documents. The reason was because she allegedly plagiarized a report, which Baldwin denied.
Less than a month later, Baldwin was terminated.
Hazlett did not respond to a request for comment. Kacskos declined to comment on the specifics of Baldwin’s complaint.
Both Baldwin and her attorney, Gregg Zeff, of Zeff Law Firm in Mount Laurel, New Jersey, declined to comment on the settlement.
As part of the settlement agreement, Millersville must provide a “neutral reference” to any of Baldwin’s prospective employers with no mention of her firing, and Baldwin agreed to not seek reemployment with Millersville.
Baldwin’s annual salary at Millersville was $97,000.