The Gazette reports that Prof. Richard Peltz sued two black students and an attorney for allegedly unfairly claiming he is racist. If anyone has a copy of the lawsuit I’d like to put a copy on here.
One of the things they claim is that Peltz referred to a satirical piece in the Onion ( my favorite satirical newspaper) about Rosa Parks. I have included the only article I can find about Rosa Park’s death. I don’t see anything about how it makes fun of her at all ( although it claims due to her death the civil rights movement is over) Am I wrong? Maybe it was a different article.
UPDATE FROM: A friendly lawyer notes that many Pulaski circuit court filings are now on-line at the Pulaski clerk’s website. But he also sent along a PDF of the Peltz lawsuit.
Law professor sues black groups
Lawyers’, students’ associations called him racist, UALR expert says
LITTLE ROCK — A University of Arkansas law school professor, recognized statewide as an authority on freedom of speech, claims the school’s black student association along with the state’s black lawyers association and their respective leaders have maligned him as a racist to get him fired.
A professor at the university’s Bowen School of Law since 1998, Richard Peltz is particularly known for his expertise on the state’s Freedom of Information law, with his research even quoted by the Arkansas Supreme Court.
In a nine-page lawsuit filed last week, he complains that the defendants, students Valerie D. Nation of Little Rock and Chrishuana L. Clark of Pine Bluff, who are officers or former officers with the university’s Black Law Student Association, and attorney Eric Spencer Buchanan, president of the W. Harold Flowers Law Society, have been making false accusations against him around the law school and statewide legal community since the fall of 2005. In the lawsuit, he asks for unspecified punitive and compensatory damages.
In a letter titled “Request for Redress” from the student group, which is contained in the lawsuit, the student association complained that Peltz had a “chip on his shoulder” against affirmative action, describing a fall 2005 classroom lecture by Peltz as a “hateful and inciting” speech used to “attack and demean the black students in his class.”
The three, acting individually and as representatives of their respective associations, have been trying to ruin his reputation by falsely describing his beliefs as racist, according to Peltz’s lawsuit.
“Defendants’ false accusation of racism against plaintiff were defamatory and reasonably calculated to cause harm to plaintiff, his reputation, his character and his integrity,” the filing states. “Defendants’ false accusations of racism damaged plaintiff’s reputation, character and integrity in the Arkansas legal community.”
The student group asked school administrators to make Peltz apologize to the black students in the 2005 constitutional law class and sought to have him “openly reprimanded.” They wanted him banned from teaching constitutional law or any other required course where black students would be forced to have him as a professor. The school should note in his employment file his “inability to deal fairly with black students,” and make him take diversity training, according tothe letter.
Peltz declined to comment Wednesday, referring inquiries to his attorney, John Tull. Tull, who is also legal counsel to the Arkansas Press Association and has represented the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, didn’t return a phone call. Buchanan declined to comment, saying he wasn’t aware of the suit, and refused an opportunity to look at a copy of the suit. No one answered a phone number for Nation, while contact information for Clark couldn’t be found.
According to the law school’s 2007 alumni magazine Hearsay, Nation and Clark are scheduled to graduate this year. Nation, who has degrees in creative writing and criminal justice, has been president, vice president and executive assistant for the association, has been a senator on the Student Bar Association and an academic success mentor and team leader. Clark, according to the magazine, has a degree in political science and a master’s degree in criminal justice, and has served as vice president of the Student Bar Association, director of that group’s community outreach opportunity league, and has been a member of the school’s law review.
Buchanan, a lawyer since 1994, has his own practice and has been active with the Arkansas Trial Lawyers Association.
The most recent allegation in the lawsuit is from April 2007, and it’s not clear why Peltz waited until this month to sue. The Bowen School of Law and the university system aren’t named as defendants, but at the annual Arkansas Bar Association conference in Hot Springs last June, Peltz complained during a presentation that the law school’s administration, while privately assuring him his job was not at risk, hadn’t publicly supported him in the face of the allegations.
Peltz’s views on affirmative action aren’t clear from the lawsuit, but the student group complained that he said affirmative action was not needed and gave unqualified black people advantages over more qualified white people, the redress letter states. Peltz also said he would give black students an extra point on their final exam if they filled out a form.
The letter also describes him delivering a “rant” on affirmative action, complains that he showed students an article from the satirical magazine The Onion about the death of Rosa Parks that “made fun of the civil rights movement and poked fun at the contribution Rosa Parks made.”
The letter also describes a private meeting between students and Peltz in which Peltz defended his remarks, refused to apologize, and said he felt uncomfortable meeting with the students because they’d already spoken with administrators.