Archive for Monday, June 21, 2004

Judgment details

June 21, 2004

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To the editor:

The Journal-World's story reporting that the 10th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals has upheld the summary judgment dismissing Michael Cuenca's race discrimination lawsuit against Kansas University and the current and former deans of journalism was perfunctory and inadequate.

Since the Journal-World has prominently displayed numerous news stories and letters from Mr. Cuenca alleging that he was denied promotion and tenure because of his ethnicity, it owed those who were tarred by his false accusations more than a brief inside story.

Specifically, a complete story would have noted how the court chided Mr. Cuenca for his voluminous appeal containing "conclusory statements, statements of opinion, and matters patently beyond his personal knowledge," supported by "nearly 1,000 pages of supplementary materials, much of it of dubious admissibility and relevance."

The appeals court concluded that the trial judge "correctly found that Cuenca failed to point to any direct evidence of discrimination."

The court said in its decision: "The record reveals that Cuenca's letters and e-mails to his supervisors contained a large amount of vituperation, impertinence, and criticism of both Kansas University administration and colleagues. The discrimination statutes do not confer a license to present grievances in an arrogant and uncivil manner."

The three appellate judges unanimously agreed that they had heard enough from Mr. Cuenca and would not even schedule an oral argument.

Ted Frederickson,

KU professor of journalism,

Tonganoxie

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