Diverse Issues in Higher Education, Renowned Black Law Professor Files Complaint Against Campbell University for Discrimination:
A Black law professor who gained national exposure for having predicted Donald J. Trump’s election victory in an eight-month series of 2016 television appearances and Harvard Law Record articles, has filed federal civil rights charges against Campbell University.
In documents obtained by Diverse, associate professor of law Amos Jones alleges a pattern of discrimination and retaliation in hiring and promotion amid a Whites-dominated tenure pattern at the 40-year-old, Raleigh, North Carolina, school historically related to the Baptist State Convention of North Carolina.
“I was punished because, on February 20, I approached Dean [J. Rich] Leonard and his Associate Dean Timothy Zinnecker with a respectful written request that they enter my classrooms and restore order among the students per our School’s code of conduct and the ethics of our profession — that is, to condemn the racial discrimination that several students had expressly written into my Fall 2016 evaluations by derogating me for being Black and being involved with a Black church,” Jones alleged in a U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) filing.
“The deans’ response came the next day: On Tuesday February 21, 2017, Dean J. Rich Leonard issued a ‘Contract Letter’ to me, e-mailed to me and also mailed to my home, announcing that he was, for the second year in a row, unilaterally aborting my application for tenure, only now my last day on faculty here would be at the end of this semester — with no terminal year of employment in 2017-18.”
The complaint refers to an Exhibit 4, which it says was “issued in apparent violation of the American Bar Association Standards and Rules of Procedure for Approval of Law Schools 2016-17 provision that ‘[t]eachers on continuous appointment who are dismissed for reasons not involving moral turpitude should receive their salaries for at least a year from the date of notification of dismissal whether or not they are continued in their duties at the institution.’ ” ...
In the retaliation complaint, Jones also faults a three-professor tenure panel and faculty mentor — all White — as abandoning their contractual duties to review and meet with him by February 1, a meeting he said has not yet occurred. ...
The 39-year-old attorney, who hails from a family that includes some of the nation’s most prominent Black Baptist pastors, was critical of university President J. Bradley Creed, who he said could have intervened over the past two months. Only the fifth president in the 130-year history of Campbell University, Creed arrived in 2015 from the provost post at Baptist-affiliated Samford University in Birmingham, Alabama. He is formerly a Southern Baptist pastor and had Jones — an ordained Baptist deacon — read the Scripture at his investiture ceremony last year.
“But,” Jones said, “We’re from the Progressive National Baptist Convention,” referring to the socially engaged 2.5-million member Protestant denomination of Black Baptists co-organized by Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. in 1961. “And when Dr. King called Sunday at 11 a.m. the most segregated hour in America, he could have just as easily referred to some law faculty meetings 50 years later.” ...
“No tenure-track white professor in the history of the law school has ever faced non-renewal after only six years of service and after the Tenure Panel’s midstream, unilateral suspension/termination of its contractual duties,” Jones complained. “[The Contract Letter] leaves almost no time for me … to find suitable replacement employment and flies in the face of the Dean’s own June 6, 2016, writing to a third party outside the University that I am a ‘rock star’ who ‘will be tenured.’ The Contract Letter alleges no performance problems on my part whatsoever; none has ever been noted in the 5.5-year history of my employment at Campbell University, other than as to the issue arising from the racist evaluations on Jan. 2, 2017.”
Other than Jones, there appear to be no Black, active full-time professors on faculty at Campbell Law this year. The school’s website is replete with praise of Jones and his pro bono court victories over the years, and its official Twitter account has recently promoted news coverage of his high-profile, postelection lecturing and appellate work.
From Professor Jones' faculty web page:
Amos Jones teaches, writes, and advocates in the areas of contracts, civil rights, religious freedom, and ethics. His work focuses on contemporary conflicts resulting from competing liberties enshrined in the U.S. Constitution.
With considerable practice experience involving national-security regulation as well as employment and religious-liberty litigation, Professor Jones pursues a scholarly agenda critiquing legal remedies for various kinds of discrimination as derived from the fundamental law. He also evaluates the legal profession’s moderating function amid the clashing of groups’ interests. His recent publications have appeared in the Widener Journal of Law, Economics & Race, the Georgia State University Law Review, and the North Carolina Law Review. During the Election 2016 cycle, he has been quoted as an authority on counterespionage regulations and foreign intercourse in The New York Times, National Review, The Times of Israel and Gawker.
Professor Jones has presented before leading law audiences on four continents, including at Harvard Law School, the University of Chicago, Georgetown University, and the University of Kentucky in the United States and Monash University (Australia), Universidad de Los Andes (Colombia/South America), and Heinrich Heine University Düsseldorf (Germany/Europe) abroad.
A public-interest advocate, Professor Jones has advised Republic of Georgia scholar-practitioners on liberty provisions of the constitution framed after that country’s Rose Revolution of 2003. In 2012, he delivered expert testimony during the Budget Oversight Hearings for the District of Columbia’s Office and Commission on Human Rights, critiquing enforcement practices before former mayor Marion Barry, Chair of the council’s Committee on Aging and Community Affairs. Professor Jones’s televised testimony informed the D.C. Attorney General’s bringing of charges in late 2013 against a Section 8 management company that had improperly barred a Bible study group from a Methodist-related seniors’ housing complex near the White House. In 2014, Professor Jones won a unanimous, 7-0 First Amendment case of first impression at the Kentucky Supreme Court, which had granted discretionary review in a racial discrimination/ministerial exception case highlighting tensions between enforcement of the federal Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the First Amendment’s religious-freedom clauses. In 2015 at the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit, he briefed the ongoing case of a disabled veteran female schoolteacher on Fort Campbell Appellant, arguing that the federal government’s widely invoked “by-passes” of preference-eligible veterans in filling competitive jobs are unconstitutional abrogations of the Veterans Employment Opportunities Act of 1998. Other matters on which Professor Jones consults involve institutions and companies accused by particular groups of illegally discriminating based on age, gender, national origin, race, and/or religion.
Before coming to Campbell Law, Professor Jones practiced for three years in the international trade and commercial litigation groups of Bryan Cave LLP in Washington, D.C., where he developed unique expertise on the growing reach of the Foreign Agents Registration Act of 1938 and related national-security regulations. Prior to entering the legal profession, he was a journalist for Pulitzer Prize-winning newspapers including The Atlanta Constitution, The Charlotte Observer, the Lexington (Kentucky) Herald-Leader, and The (Westchester County, New York) Journal News. He played viola professionally with the Charlotte Philharmonic Orchestra in its 2000-01 season.
Professor Jones graduated with honors in Political Science from Emory University, where he studied on Robert W. Woodruff and National Merit scholarships and was named a 1999 Harry S. Truman Scholar and a member of USA Today’s year 2000 All-USA College Academic First Team, competitively ranked as one of the country’s top twenty students. He later earned the Master of Science from Columbia University’s Graduate School of Journalism and the J.D. from Harvard Law School, where he served as an Executive Editor of both the Harvard BlackLetter Law Journal and the Harvard Human Rights Journal. While at Harvard, he was awarded a Fulbright Postgraduate Scholarship, on which he spent his first year out of law school as a Visiting Scholar in the Centre for Comparative Constitutional Studies at Australia’s University of Melbourne. There, he studied the development of Bills of Rights in the Australian setting and served as a Resident Tutor in Baptist-affiliated Whitley College.
Professor Jones served from 2012 to 2014 as Vice Chair of Campbell Law’s Faculty Recruitment Committee and in 2013-14 as Chair of the Committee on Community, Diversity and Student Life. In 2014-15, he chaired the ad hoc Law Review Evaluation Committee.
In Fall 2015, Professor Jones was Academic Visitor to the Faculty of Law at the University of Oxford, studying ecclesiastical courts of Britain’s sixteenth and seventeenth centuries while developing The Jones Professional Responsibility Heuristic. The heuristic is an approach to global concerns of corporate responsibility and diversity that shapes policies and practices determined to be “relentlessly realistic and effective, rather than politically correct but impotent.”
An ordained Baptist deacon, Professor Jones serves on the Board of Directors of The Academy of Preachers. He is a Trustee of the Rotary Club of Federal City Foundation and is a former Resident Trustee of International House New York. He serves as founding President of the Board of Trustees of the Veterans Employment Advancement Foundation, a non-profit charity based in Alexandria, Va.
Admitted in the District of Columbia and before the Supreme Court of the United States as well as five other federal courts, Professor Jones joined the Campbell Law in 2011.