US

Southeastern Oklahoma State University must reinstate a transgender professor who was fired in 2011

Southeastern Oklahoma State University must reinstate – with tenure – a transgender professor who was fired in 2011 after school official said her ‘lifestyle’ offended him, judge rules

  • Rachel Tudor, a transgender professor of English, was wrongfully fired from her job for her ‘lifestyle,’ an appellate judge ruled  
  • She was denied tenure in 2010 and then dismissed in 2011 after the VP of Academic Affairs Douglas McMillian said it went against his religious beliefs 
  • She will be reinstated as the first Native American professor to be tenured at the school and her lost wages will be recalculated  


An Oklahoma university has to reinstate a transgender professor with tenure after she was fired when one of the school’s VPs complained her ‘lifestyle’ was offensive to his religious beliefs, a judge has ruled.

The 10th US Circuit ruled in Rachel Tudor’s favor on Monday, stating that Southeastern Oklahoma State University must reinstate the transgender professor who was fired in 2011 after a complaint regarding her gender identity.

An HR representative called to inform Tudor, an English professor at the time, that the university’s former Vice President of Academic Affairs Douglas McMillian wanted her fired because her lifestyle went against his religious beliefs, according to NY Daily News

A 10th Circuit appellate judge ruled that Rachel Tudor (pictured) was wrongfully fired in 2011 after a school official allegedly complained that her transgender ‘lifestyle’ was offensive 

Former VP of Academic Affairs Douglas McMillian (pictured) complained to an HR representative in 2009

Former VP of Academic Affairs Douglas McMillian (pictured) complained to an HR representative in 2009 

At the time of her firing, Tudor had been up for tenure, which would have given her a secure job for the remainder of her career. 

But she was denied tenure in fall 2009, according to court records, and fired the following the 2010-11 academic year. 

The US Department of Justice sued on Tudor’s behalf for discrimination on the basis of sex in 2015. 

In 2017, the professor was awarded $1.16million for being wrongly denied tenure, but was stripped of the full amount of her reward in the following year. 

US District Judge Robin Cauthron in Oklahoma City lower the awarded amount to a mere $300,000. He cited a state caps under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. Businesses with more than 500 employees are capped at a $300,000 payout. 

In addition, she received $60,000 for lost earnings. Tudor had requested more than $2million for future earnings. 

That judge also denied her request to be reinstated at the university, as there were claims that other members of staff were against her return. 

Southeastern Oklahoma State University was found to have wrongfully fired Tudor on the basis of sex discrimination by a 10th Circuit appellate judge

Southeastern Oklahoma State University was found to have wrongfully fired Tudor on the basis of sex discrimination by a 10th Circuit appellate judge 

The university went on to appeal the decision, and Tudor appealed the reinstatement denial and lost wages. 

Tudor will go on to become the first tenured Native American professor in her department at Southeastern Oklahoma State University. 

In a statement attributed to her, it said: ‘She’s] looking forward to being the first tenured Native American professor in her department in the 100-plus year history of the Native American-serving institution that is Southeastern Oklahoma State University.’ 

The judge also ruled that her lost wages be recalculated, according to Tulsa World.   

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