Office Manager Kushuantia L. Jones is suing Jackson State University and JSU Communications Director Anthony Dean for sexual harassment. In her circuit court filing (PDF, 575 MB), Jones claims that through most of 2005, Dean made repeated unwanted requests for sex. Dean allegedly "slid his hand down her back into her pants lifting her underwear and asked, 'What color underwear are you wearing?'" He scheduled late meetings to get her alone, and he once offered to perform oral sex on his desk, according to Jones. At least twice, Dean exposed himself to Jones, once gesturing at his genitals and asking, "Can you handle this?"
As lurid as those allegations are, the allegations Jones makes against JSU are almost more damning. After months of alleged harassment, Jones went to human resources seeking help even though she "knew of several female employees who … felt that their complaints were 'swept under the rug.'" Jones alleges that Dean began to retaliate against her immediately after she reported the harassment, delivering a written reprimand the very next day. After a three month investigation, JSU's grievance board found no evidence to substantiate Jones' claims. Even before that finding, however, JSU had responded to Jones' request to be transferred from Dean's department by re-assigning her within that department, still under the immediate supervision of Dean. Jones rose quickly through the ranks at JSU, earning two promotions in three years. Now, she was effectively demoted, and Dean allegedly ordered her to sit in her office with the door closed. He also issued further reprimands against her for "insubordination" as recently as Aug. 16, 2006.
JSU's public relations department did not return calls for comment. Louis H. Watson Jr., who is an attorney for Jones, did not return calls for comment.
Jones' filing represents one side of a legal argument.
I just posted a PDF of the amended complaint in this case. It makes for a remarkable read, both with respect to Mr. Dean and with respect to JSU. If the allegations are true, JSU has a lot of work (and apologizing) to do.
- Brian C Johnson
Agreed. This is very problematic, and surprising to me as a supporter of JSU.
- Tom Head
Whoa! I agree. If the allegations are true, there are several things that could pose grave problems for Dean and JSU. Can you say 'punitive damages'? 'Retaliation'? How about 'negligence'? Or "hostile work environment"? The complaint outlines the plaintiff's side of the story only, but this is nontheless incredible.