Jury rejects ex-dean's claim of discriminatory admissions policies at SUNY Cobleskill
ALBANY Claims that SUNY-Cobleskill officials retaliated against a former dean were rejected by a jury Friday following a two-week trial in federal court.
Thomas J. Hickey, fired in 2009 from his position as dean of liberal arts and sciences, filed a lawsuit claiming the termination was tied to his speaking out against college policies he considered racially biased.
In a battle of court papers that followed, Hickey contended the college was recruiting minority students unable to graduate — all for the purpose of meeting budgeting targets.
Lawyers for the college and state responded by saying Hickey wasn't doing a good job before he was fired and maintained his complaints about policy had nothing to do with it.
The trial before U.S. District Court Judge Mae A. D'Agostino began July 8 and ended July 19 with a jury rejecting all of Hickey's claims, according to the Jury Verdict form.
Acting SUNY-Cobleskill President Debra Thatcher issued a statement extolling the Agriculture and Technology college's record in education.
"We're proud of SUNY Cobleskill's nearly 100-year record of educating students and preparing them for career success," Thatcher said in the statement.
"SUNY Cobleskill is committed to admitting students with diverse educational and social backgrounds. Our student body reflects the cultural diversity of the Empire State, and our faculty and staff go to exceptional lengths to help students succeed," Thatcher said in the statement.