Wang vs. Macalester – Background Information

The following information was provided to me to clarify some misinformation that might be out there regarding the discrimination case Wang vs. Macalester.

For more info about the case, read the previous posts:

Macalester College: Stop discrimination and retaliation

Discrimination case touched a nerve

Wang vs. Macalester College

Discrimination abound

Wang Ping, a native Mandarin speaker arrives in the U.S. with $26 in her pocket, no family connections, a strong work ethic and a desire for education.  Despite English being her second language she begins studying English literature and creative writing.  By 1999 she is a sought-after author and poet with an international reputation for writing about the immigrant experience.

1999 – Dr. Wang arrives at Macalester with an M.A. from Long Island University and PhD from New York University.  She is employed by the English Department as a full-time writer and poet to teach creative writing.  Before coming to Macalester, Dr. Wang had published four books;  won two book awards;  a National Endowments for the Arts Fellowship; a New York State Arts Fellowship; and, a Minnesota State Board for the Arts Fellowship;

2001 – After teaching in the English Department for two years, Dr. Wang is invited to join the tenure-track faculty as an advanced assistant professor because she had published five books in addition to the awards mentioned above.  When she was hired on the tenure-track, Dr. Wang requested that she be eligible for early promotion because of advanced standing;

2003 – The current President arrives at Macalester. Dr. Wang requests the early promotion process be initiated, as she understood had been promised by the prior Macalester administration.  For the first time, the Provost informed Dr. Wang that “her tenure-track employment contract did not include an early promotion clause,” no matter how many books or accomplishments she had brought with her to Macalester.

A white male colleague with only one published book had been granted early promotion a year before, thus showing that such promotions did take place despite the misinformation provided by the Provost (in retrospect);

2004 – Dr. Wang applies for tenure with 7 books published at this point in her career but not early promotion in consideration of the Provost’s “ruling on early promotion.”  Another white male colleague in the same department applies for early promotion (which had been denied Dr. Wang a year earlier) and receives early promotion with one book;

2005 – Dr. Wang is granted tenure.  The white male colleague who had applied for early promotion with only one book in 2004 is granted early promotion;

2009 – Dr. Wang requested of the Provost that she apply to be promoted to full professor for the first time after 10 years on the faculty.  The Provost incorrectly tells Dr. Wang she has requested an early promotion again, and sent her through a special review process by an associate professor, in contravention of regular Macalester procedures.  The associate professor, who is also the CST director, declares Dr. Wang ineligible to apply for promotion because her teaching is “not good enough,” after she lost the reviewing materials Dr. Wang sent her, and fails to respond to Dr. Wang’s inquiries for a second meeting;

2009 – Shortly thereafter, all associate professors eligible for promotion receive notification as a single group, including Dr. Wang.  Dr. Wang discovered that both the Provost and the CST director had given her incorrect information.  She qualified for promotion on a regular promotion schedule, not an early promotion schedule, in 2009. The same white male colleague granted early promotion in 2005 applied for early promotion again in 2009 and was granted the early promotion by the Provost and President a second time, without requiring a review by the CST director.

April 2010 — Dr. Wang applied for promotion to full professor pursuant to the general notification to associate professors but was notified by the Provost that her promotion to full professor was denied for sub-par teaching and insufficient service.  The Provost advised her not to apply for a promotion again for five years and to refrain from discussing the denial of her promotion;

May 2010 – Dr. Wang appeals the denial of promotion internally through Appeal Committee which finds four significant procedural errors and recommends the President reopen the case;

October 2010 – The President refuses to reopen the faulty procedure used to deny the promotion of Dr. Wang to full professor.  Funding for Dr. Wang’s projects is cut. Post-promotion meeting with the Provost and the FPC chair was verbally, professionally and emotionally abusive towards Dr. Wang, according to her health-treatment providers. The meeting reveals that information supporting Dr. Wang’s promotion had been withheld by the Provost from earlier faculty reviews;

December 2010 – Counsel for Dr. Wang writes to attorneys for the President and Provost of Macalester offering to discuss discrimination issues and requesting swift solution, but not threatening litigation.  The response is dismissive of Dr. Wang’s concerns;

January 2011 – Counsel for Dr. Wang files EEOC and Minnesota Department of Human Rights complaints for racial, ethnic and gender discrimination.  18-month EEOC investigation begins;

2011 – Dr. Wang applies for promotion to full Professor despite Provost’s 2010 order that she not seek promotion for five-years, while the EEOC investigation is underway;

April 2012 – Dr. Wang is granted promotion to full professor.  The promotion is both appreciated and well-earned. The letter from the President to Dr. Wang is terse with none of the traditional academic praise.  Whether Dr. Wang would have been granted this 2012 promotion in the absence of the year-long, ongoing EEOC investigation, after being rejected for the same promotion in 2010, is a matter for speculation and additional information from College records and personnel;

August 2012 – Three months after Dr. Wang is promoted to full professor EEOC reports that the reasons for disparate treatment of Dr. Wang are inconclusive;  Dr. Wang goes on sabbatical 2012-13 to help rebound from 2009-2012  three-years of stress;

November 2012 – Counsel for Dr. Wang attempts reconciliation meeting to prevent post-promotion retaliation; restriction of project funding; working toward the best interests of Macalester, etc.  the President and Provost do not respond, as reflected in the email record.

December 3, 2012 – To preserve the statute of limitations, Dr. Wang’s attorneys mail a copy of a sample complaint that had not been filed in court to lawyers for the President and Provost.  Attorneys for Dr. Wang request to mediate her concerns about discrimination or retaliation when Dr. Wang returns to campus after her sabbatical in Fall 2013.

December 21, 2012Wang v. Macalester becomes public when attorneys for the President and Provost file a public Answer in Ramsey County District Court, making the attempted mediation a public lawsuit and demanding that Dr. Wang pay Macalester’s legal fees;

February 2013: Macalester President’s Disinformation Campaign with Alumni and the Macalester community begins with phone calls reported on Facebook and other websites:

  • Contrary to website postings neither the Provost and President have “reached out” to mediate these matters directly or through their attorneys, as described above;
  • Dr. Wang has sought mediation to prevent retaliation and ensure equal treatment in salary and other conditions of employment required by law, not “a big financial award;”
  • Feb. 1 Macalester documents declare: “mediation is not appropriate.” Dr. Wang disagrees;
  • Dr. Wang’s quarrel is not primarily with faculty colleagues, but with the President and Provost whose discriminatory and retaliatory application of Macalester academic rules;
  • Macalester’s mission as a diverse and multi-cultural institution means a great deal to all of us.  The President and Provost’s refusal to mediate, as Dr. Wang’s counsel requested before these discrimination and retaliation matters were brought into court by attorneys for Mac administrators, cannot benefit Mac alumni, students, faculty or staff.

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