Former Associate VP of Enrollment Mahmoud Saffari, after almost a year of relative silence, has filed suit against SCSU and President Potter.
Saffari is demanding a jury trial and seeking damages in excess of $75,000.
He is suing on four counts: national origin, color and religious discrimination; civil rights violations; violations of the Minnesota Data Practices Act and defamation.
According to a court filing with the U.S. District Court, Saffari alleges that he was discriminated against in employment decisions.
The document, filed by Saffari and his lawyer, Judith K. Schermer, says that Saffari was subjected to a “hostile, offensive and intimidating atmosphere” in his time at SCSU.
Saffari and his lawyer allege that the university and Potter are in violation of Minnesota statutes, U.S. legal code or both.
Saffari has filed charge with United States Equal Employment Opportunity Commission and received Notice of Right to Sue, according to the court document.
The charges don’t stop at discriminatory employment practices: the document also states that SCSU violated the state’s Data Practices Act and released private personnel information about him.
Saffari is also accusing SCSU of defamation in that the institution confirmed that he was escorted off campus and was not allowed to talk to his staff. The document states that this implied wrongdoing on Saffari’s part, and that the institution “failed to provide missing information that would have clarified that there was not any wrongdoing.”
Saffari also says that, in his time at SCSU, he was forbidden from sharing enrollment information and was silenced when he raised “issues or concerns about factors that were negatively impacting enrollment,” according to the document.
He also alleges that false enrollment statistics were released after his report was dismissed.
At press time, the state had not released official comment. According to the civil cover sheet for the case, the defendants (defined as St. Cloud State University and Earl H. Potter III) will be represented by Assistant Attorney General Gary Cunningham.
The Chronicle will continue to cover this developing story as more information becomes available, as we did last year. Please contact us with any tips, questions or suggestions, and click here to read past coverage.