Hatcher v. Bd. of Trs. of S. Ill. Univ., No. 15-1599 (7th Cir. 2016)Annotate this Case
In 2006, Southern Illinois University (SIU) hired Dr. Hatcher as an assistant professor of political science. In 2010 Hatcher assisted a graduate student in making a sexual harassment complaint about a faculty member. Hatcher was up for tenure and promotion to associate professor in 2011. Hatcher had received positive annual evaluations. Her external reviewers all recommended tenure.The political science department voted in favor of promotion and tenure. The College of Liberal Arts committee voted 5‐4 in favor of tenure and 5‐4 against promotion, noting Hatcher’s success in teaching and service, but expressing concern about her lack of academic publications in prestigious journals. The dean recommended that she receive neither tenure nor promotion. The provost agreed. Hatcher was denied tenure and, later, fired. Two male professors in Hatcher’s department were promoted and awarded tenure. The Review Board found that the provost did not sufficiently explain his decision; the Chancellor agreed, but declined to reverse the denial. Hatcher filed a charge of discrimination with the EEOC. Her subsequent suit was dismissed. The Seventh Circuit affirmed in part. Hatcher did not produce evidence from which a jury could conclude that SIU was lying about its reason for denying her tenure; she was not engaging in speech protected under Title VII or by the First Amendment when she assisted the student with the sexual harassment report. The court reversed dismissal of her claim of retaliation for filing a charge with the EEOC.