By Brittney Le
AsAmNews Staff Writer
A trial date has recently been set in the discrimination case filed by a Chinese American PhD student against Idaho State University (ISU).
Jun Yu sued after he was dismissed from the doctorate program in clinical psychology in 2013.
“We have defeated ISU’s efforts to have the case thrown out and a trial date has been set for November 13, 2018,” said Jocelyn Eikenburg, Yu’s wife, on a blog post. “Meanwhile, we are even more confident about the case since we obtained strong evidence that shows ISU discriminated against Jun.”
The court, however, dismissed 17 other complaints against ISU, ruling that the 11th amendment shielded the university from litigation in federal court. Those 17 complaints ranged from breach of contract to infliction of emotional distress. He has asked the court to reconsider that ruling.
“Mr. Yu was subject to unlawful discrimination based on his national origin in violation of Title VI,” stated Ron Coulter, Yu’s attorney to AsAmNews. “Mr. Yu is seeking to be allowed to complete the one internship he needs to be awarded his Doctorate in Clinical Psychology from ISU in the Peoples Republic of China.”
Last year, the Federal Court in the District of Idaho ordered the school to turn over records of all students who were pursuing doctorate degrees in the same program as Yu between 2008 and 2015. Eikenburg claims on her blog that these records reveal several differences in treatment between how the school dealt with Yu and his termination versus how it dealt with similarly situated students, providing strong evidence that ISU discriminated against Yu. The plaintiff also has several psychology experts on his side.
“While it is anticipated that ISU will maintain that Mr. Yu was treated no differently than similar students in enrolled in the Doctoral Program in Clinical Psychology, these experts will testify that Mr. Yu was treated in an unethical, unreasonable, arbitrary, and capricious manner that was substantially outside the accepted scope of academic norms; and, that Mr. Yu was the victim of ISU’s cultural incompetence and aversive racism,” said Coulter.
“ISU shifted from considering Mr. Yu’s cultural background to creating and using race-neutral explanations for their own behavior,” Dr. Leslie Zorwick noted in a declaration filed in support of Yu. She claimed the school adopted “color-blind ideology” at the time of Yu’s dismissal.
“The ambiguity surrounding the evaluation and assessment of Mr. Yu was evidenced in unclear expectations of required English language proficiency, the feedback Mr. Yu received from supervisors, the criteria used to assess the tasks that would be appropriate for Mr. Yu’s level of training, and in the overall criteria used to assess ‘satisfactory progress.’ ” On top of the standards she accuses the school of violating, Dr. Zorwick notes, “In addition, the psychology department never placed Mr. Yu on probation or told him he was at risk of dismissal from the program.”
A representative of Idaho State University has stated that they do not comment on pending litigation.
“Mr. Yu hopes that as result of this case, no other minority student will be subjected to the unlawful discrimination that he has had to endure because of his national origin and race,” stated Coulter.
The following video of Jun Yu from 2016 sums up the frustrations he says he’s been facing for years:
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