Current CEE professor Mulalo Doyoyo has brought suit in Fulton County Superior Court against the Institute under the Georgia Whistleblowers Act, which protects public employees from any action for speaking out against improper conduct of any superiors. Doyoyo has also brought an additional action in Federal District Court against the Institute for racial discrimination during his tenure application process.
The Institute has denied all the allegations in court documents, claiming that all actions taken by the Institute were for “legitimate, non-discriminatory, nonretaliatory business reasons.”
According to court documents, Doyoyo was pressured in Dec. 2007 by Laurence Jacobs, associate dean of the College of Engineering, to change the grade of a graduate student with whom Jacobs was allegedly having a romantic relationship. Doyoyo claims that he saw Jacobs, the graduate student and the student’s daughter at Atlantic Station late one night and that Jacobs was seen dropping the student off on Tech’s campus one morning.
Jacobs allegedly asked Doyoyo to change the student’s grade to a higher one. In response, Doyoyo said that he was willing to administer several oral exams and give additional problems to help increase her grade. The student continued to perform poorly. Doyoyo then changed her grade to a low C. Doyoyo claims that after this, he was asked to further change the student’s grade from a low C to an A.
During a phone conversation about the matter, Jacobs allegedly told Doyoyo that “I would owe you one,” if Doyoyo assigned a better grade. Despite receiving several requests regarding the matter, Doyoyo claims he sent an email to Jacobs saying that he would not raise the student’s grade as it would violate Tech’s Honor Code.
Doyoyo also claims that he approached Joseph Hughes, the chair of CEE, with his concerns about the Honor Code and claims that Hughes said that he would “take care” of the matter. According to court documents, Hughes “then ‘took care’ of the matter by doing nothing.”
According to court documents, Doyoyo discovered the student was teaching an undergraduate course in Spring 2008 despite the fact that the student was on academic probation. Doyoyo informed several other professors of his concern for having a student on academic probation continue to teach an undergraduate class, and a group of them agreed.
According to court documents, the professors called a meeting with Hughes to ask him to address the situation. Hughes allegedly declined to do so, and the professors then took the next step of sending a memorandum of protest to the Dean of Engineering. The group allegedly received a reply that accused the individuals of violating student privacy, and the professors were eventually “interrogated” for the source of knowledge that stated the student was on academic probation.
Doyoyo also began to seek tenure at this time. The Area Committee, a group that provides an assessment of the professor during the tenure process, gave him high marks relating to some of his research. The reported stated that, “…his work had advanced the state of the art.” Despite this, Hughes allegedly undermined Doyoyo’s application, and his actions led to Doyoyo’s denial of tenure and his dismissal.
As part of his case, Doyoyo also claims that part of the denial of tenure could have been racially motivated. According to the documents, the CEE department is made up of “approximately 46 professors,” only two of whom are black and two of whom are Asian. Doyoyo has filed a charge of discrimination with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission and the Georgia Commission on Equal Opportunity.
When contacted, Institute spokesman Matt Nagel declined to comment, citing Institute policy for litigation and personal matters.
Doyoyo’s attorneys also declined to comment about the case at this time.