Baskan, college resolve discrimination lawsuit

Alex Weidenhof, Copy/Enterprise Editor

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Altay Baskan, ’20, and Allegheny College reached an agreement Thursday, Jan. 25, to resolve a lawsuit he filed against the college and Assistant Dean of Students Joe Hall. Hall was dismissed as a defendant on Dec. 22, 2017.

The lawsuit, which was filed on April 21, 2017, accused Hall and Allegheny of discriminating against Baskan, who was born in Turkey, on the basis of his race during disciplinary proceedings in the fall of 2016.

The dismissal of the suit against Hall comes after a mediation held on Oct. 25, 2017, according to court records. The report of the mediation notes that “the parties [were] in the process of finalizing an agreement.” Court records indicate the dismissal was “voluntary.”

While Baskan and Allegheny were unable to reach an agreement during mediation in October, Baskan and the college resolved the lawsuit in front of Federal Magistrate Judge Susan Paradise Baxter on Jan. 25.

The terms of the agreements are not public record.

Eileen Petula, executive vice president and chief operating officer of the college, told The Campus that the college does not make statements on legal matters.

In the suit, which was filed against both Hall and the college, Baskan claimed “Hall’s treatment of Baskan was colored by racial stereotyping and prejudice.”

The civil allegation against Hall was based solely on the assistant dean allegedly violating Baskan’s equal rights, while Baskan requested relief on two additional counts against the college:  breach of contract and invasion of privacy.

In response to the civil complaint, Martha Munsch, who represented both the college and Hall, argued that neither Hall nor Allegheny acted towards Baskan based in any way on his ethnicity.

“Any and all actions taken or decisions made by Defendants regarding Plaintiff were based on legitimate, nondiscriminatory, business reasons which were not pretextual,” Munsch’s answer to the complaint reads in part.

A status conference, in which the parties to the lawsuit would discuss the case and potentially decide upon trial dates, was scheduled for Feb. 7. As a result of the agreement, the case will not go to trial and the status conference is canceled.