Professor's discrimination case against KSU dismissed
Business professor Paul Lapides' story, as he tells it, sounds a lot like the plot to a John Grisham thriller. Except his intrigues are set not in a plush, Grisham-esque law firm, but in Kennesaw State'sivory tower.
A federal judge last month threw out Lapides' lawsuit against the school, in which Lapides alleged that KSU administrators discriminated against him because he is Jewish. Lapides, however, has vowed to appeal the decision and to fight on.
"Jews don't get used to things," he said. "We may lose. But we don't accept it."
A successful real estate entrepreneur in New York, Lapides left the Big Apple for the calm world of Georgia academia. In the 1990s, he co-founded the Corporate Governance Center at KSU. His days were professorial and quiet: teaching, lecturing and writing.
Then Lapides' life began to take a bizarre twist. First, a female student filed what turned out to be a bogus sexual harassment complaint against him. Then, a second female student, who was dating another professor in the business school, filed a police report alleging that Lapides sexually assaulted her, pulled a gun, and told her to keep her mouth shut.
The police report, too, turned out to be false. The student later recanted the report, in a sworn affidavit.
Lapides says the complaints were part of a larger set-up, orchestrated by an administration bent on ousting him from campus because he is Jewish. His lawsuit followed suits by other Jewish professors at the school who claimed they, too, faced discrimination.
Lapides further alleges that when asked for his personnel files to be cleared of wrongdoing, the administration gave him the runaround, and refused to cooperate.
"My goal was just to settle — to have them clean up my file and leave," Lapides said. Instead, Lapides says he faced further retaliation by the university.
Lapides had the financial resources to fight KSU in court. He hired experienced lawyers, including former Georgia Attorney General Mike Bowers, and investigators, who told him that his life was at risk.
"My investigators told me that there were people who wanted to get me somewhere where they could shoot me," he said.
His lawyers, meanwhile, took his case on a procedural issue all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court. The court ruled unanimously that Lapides had the right to sue the school, a state entity, in federal court.
But now that he had the Supreme Court's stamp of approval to pursue his case, it has been thrown out — before even going to trial.
"The administration here has practiced discrimination," Lapides said. "They tutor people on it. The demonization here is incredible, and it appears they will get away with almost everything they did."