The former vice president at Jackson State University has filed a lawsuit alleging that she was discriminated against during the interviewing process for president in 2020.
Debra Mays-Jackson filed the suit shortly after the Institutions for Higher Learning (IHL) announced that Dr. Marcus L. Thompson had been selected to serve as JSU’s new president on Thursday, arguing that she should have been chosen over former president Thomas Hudson.
Hudson was officially promoted to the position in November 2020 after working in an interim capacity following William Bynum, Jr.’s arrest for procuring the services of a prostitute.
The suit states that the IHL did not complete the full search for the institution’s next president despite claims that “Hudson sent an unwelcomed and uninvited photograph of his genitalia to a JSU employee while he was serving as the Interim President and demoted another JSU employee who complained about Hudson’s unlawful conduct.”
Hudson resigned from his position three years later, with the former president being previously placed on administrative leave by the Board of Trustees of State IHL following a vote of no confidence in the president by JSU’s Faculty Senate in late January. The reason for his resignation has not yet been released.
Jackson served as JSU’s vice president and chief of staff at the time of Hudson’s appointment to interim president, but is now requesting to be named the institution’s new president over Thompson.
“IHL officials knew or should have known that Hudson was clearly less qualified for the position than Debra Mays Jackson and was not fit to serve as President of JSU as he had failed to protect JSU’s students and employees from sex discrimination and sexual harassment,” the suit stated.
The lawsuit also details that Jackson “has been damaged in an amount exceeding the jurisdictional requirements” of the court and asks for all fees, costs, and expenses to be reimbursed by the IHL.