Lawsuit Accuses Wisconsin University of Demoting Staff Member Due to Whiteness

( – Rochelle Hoffman, a staff member at the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire filed a lawsuit against the school alleging she was discriminated against for being white, following her dismissal from her position at the Multicultural Student Services office. Her lawsuit states that students, faculty, and the University leadership opposed her appointment to the role of interim director, arguing that a white person is not appropriate to run an office dedicated to multiculturalism. She had previously worked in a different office for 6 years, helping low-income, under-represented, and first-generation college students navigate university life.

Hoffman’s qualifications, experience, and performance reviews were apparently not at issue, but her race was explicitly mentioned as a reason for her ouster, but only after 8 months of hostile behavior and antagonism regarding her race, which led to her resignation.

One student made a Federal complaint incredulously asking “You hired a white woman as Interim Director?”

Other students commented that a white woman was not fit to be in a role intended to “serve students of color.”

According to the lawsuit, the University’s own systemic policies suggest that a white person cannot operate in the role Hoffman resigned from, thanks to the school’s “affinity” model, which states that students need to be matched to a coordinator that shares their ethnic background.

After resigning from the interim position under duress, Hoffman’s lawsuit alleges that she faced retaliation for complaining about her discrimination, including the loss of a teaching role. Hoffman is seeking financial compensation for loss of wages and benefits, as well as emotional distress, reputation loss, damage to her career as well as attorney fees.

Hoffman currently works in a different department at the University as an advisor for students.

University officials put out a statement affirming their dedication to never discriminate against someone for any reason, but they would not comment directly about the lawsuit, saying only that they do not discuss the “pending litigation.”

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