Former university employee sues, alleging discrimination for being a white, Christian male

The lawsuit noted the former employee is of partial ‘Native American descent’ but ‘primarily identifies as white.’

A supervisor encouraged the employee to ‘lean on his degenerative eye condition as a disability’ once he was ‘disabled enough,’ so the supervisor could help him obtain a promotion.

Former intern and part-time employee Jeffery Wilkins is suing the University of Wyoming (UW), alleging that the university discriminated against him for being a white, Christain male. 

Wilkins interned at UW in 2015 and was a part-time employee between 2018 and 2021. He was routinely “praised for his work quality, overall performance, and disposition.”

The lawsuit states that Wilkins routinely expressed desires to be promoted to full-time employment should the opportunity arise. 

Wilkins had multiple discussions with one of his supervisors, Tiffany Brooke Bishop, about promotion possibilities, but Bishop explained that Wilkins would need to find a way to “check a box” if he wanted a promotion. 

“[In a] personal meeting [Bishop said] that [Wilkins] would have to find a way to ‘check a box’—meaning fit into a non- straight-white-male-Christian category—if he wanted to move up at the University of Wyoming,” the lawsuit states.

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Wilkins also has a degenerative eye condition, stating he was encouraged by Bishop to “lean on his…condition” and once he was“disabled enough,” Bishop could help him obtain a promotion “despite…his status as a white Christian man.”

The lawsuit also noted that Wilkins is of partial “Native American descent” but “primarily identifies as white.”

While Bishop never stated approval for the “internal discrimination at the University of Wyoming…she unequivocally confirmed its existence,” according to the lawsuit.

Bishop was eventually promoted and her former position was eliminated despite Wilkins’ qualifications. 

Later another position became available and was filled by Victoria Bryant, a defendant in the lawsuit, without giving Wilkins a chance to apply. The university called the situation an “emergency promotion” despite Bryant’s new position having been vacant for 9 months. 

The lawsuit alleges the “emergency promotion” was designed to eliminate Wilkins from a “competitive recruitment process that would have necessarily involved Mr. Wilkins.”

Immediately following Bryant’s promotion, her previous position of assistant director was eliminated, leaving no room for Wilkins to be promoted. 

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Bryant subsequently cut Wilkins’ hours by 90% and “withheld the work that filled the remaining 10%,” according to the lawsuit.

During Wilkins’ employment at UW, the university hired a “chief diversity officer” that required Wilkins to take diversity training that heavily pushed Critical Race Theory and to “agree with this ideology before it would consider the training complete.”

The training course also required participants to submit feedback. Wilkins “strenuously opposed CRT because it is the “antithesis of Dr. [Martin Luther] King’s teachings,” overtly promotes the evaluation of skin color over the content of one’s character [and] found the training to be blatantly racist, sexist, and bigoted.”

On July 8, 2021, Wilkins filed an official complaint with the “Equal Employment Opportunity Commission and Wyoming’s fair employment practices agency, the Department of Workforce Services” for discrimination. 

Wilkins was fired without cause on Sept. 8, 2021. In response, Wilkins filed another complaint on Nov. 4, 2021, citing retaliation as cause for his termination. On June 29, 2022, he was granted the right to sue.

A spokesperson for UW told Campus Reform, “We believe the complaint is without merit, and we intend to vigorously defend against it.”

Wilkins is seeking damages of $874,619.50.

Campus Reform contacted Wilkins, Bryant, and the University of Wyoming, and made the best attempt to contact Bishop. This article will be updated accordingly. 

Follow @kliseanderson on Twitter.