Rochelle Hoffman Files Lawsuit Against UW-Eau Claire, Citing Discrimination in Forced Resignation from Diversity Role

Rochelle Hoffman Files Lawsuit Against UW-Eau Claire, Citing Discrimination in Forced Resignation from Diversity Role

Unjust Resignation Due to Racial Bias: Rochelle Hoffman’s Legal Battle with UW-Eau Claire-

A woman named Rochelle Hoffman, aged 36, has taken legal action against the University of Wisconsin at Eau Claire, asserting that she was forced to resign from her position as interim director of the campus’s Multicultural Student Services.

According to Hoffman, her resignation was prompted by a discriminatory environment where both staff and students explicitly conveyed their opposition to having white individuals overseeing spaces intended for students of color.

Racial Discrimination Allegations: Hoffman’s Legal Stand

Hoffman, seeking compensation for lost wages and damages, alleges in her civil lawsuit that students conveyed to the former Vice Chancellor for Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion, Olga Diaz, that a white person was deemed unfit for the role.

The suit highlights instances where students openly expressed their reservations about white individuals overseeing areas designated for students of color, creating an atmosphere of hostility.

Hoffman contends that the University’s adoption of an affinity model, requiring coordinators to match the ethnic background of the students they serve, contributed to her forced resignation based on her identity as a white person.

Affinity Model and Hostile Environment: The Core of Hoffman’s Claims

The affinity model, previously employed at the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire, operated on the premise that students are best served by coordinators of the same ethnic background.

Hoffman claims that this model led to an insistence that positions formerly held by people of color should only be filled by individuals of the same profile, further contributing to the hostile work environment.

Despite Hoffman’s efforts in creating and managing programs for students of color, as well as teaching classes to enhance retention and graduation rates, her resignation after just eight months was allegedly driven by criticism based on her race rather than her qualifications.

Legal Developments and University Response

Following Hoffman’s legal action, her role was reassigned to a senior academic advising coordinator at the university.

The lawsuit, first reported by Wisconsin Public Radio, targets the University’s Board of Regents, UW-Eau Claire Chancellor Jim Schmidt, and Assistant Chancellor for Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion Teresa O’Halloran.

While UW-Eau Claire has refrained from offering comments on the pending litigation, Hoffman seeks compensation for various damages, including psychological injury, emotional distress, loss of reputation, career damage, and attorney fees and costs.