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AMARILLO, Texas (KAMR/KCIT) — The lawyers representing West Texas A&M University and the Texas A&M University System are responding after a former WT employee filed a lawsuit in Amarillo Federal Court claiming that she was fired after investigating alleged sex discrimination reports within the university’s campus police department.
According to documents, filed Monday in the United States District Court for the Northern District of Texas Amarillo division, the lawyers denied the majority of the allegations that Georganna Ecker, the former director of the Civil Rights and Title IX Compliance Department at West Texas A&M University, brought forward in a lawsuit in March.
According to previous reports from MyHighPlains.com, Ecker investigated the allegations of sex discrimination within the campus police department, with the documents at the time stating that she found evidence of discrimination, as well as other “unlawful conduct” before she was removed from the investigation, threatened and fired.
The documents claim that the university and its system violated Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 “by terminating (her) in retaliation for her opposition to discrimination.”
“To this date, neither WTAMU nor the System have articulated a coherent reason for Ms. Ecker’s termination,” the documents read at the time. “An attorney for the System has claimed that Ms. Ecker had performance issues, but has also acknowledged that her performance reviews were spotless… There was no apparent reason for (her) termination other than retaliation and a desire to facilitate a cover-up of sex discrimination within the WTAMU police department.”
Within the response, the lawyers representing West Texas A&M and the Texas A&M University System denied most of the allegations detailed in Ecker’s initial complaint. The documents read that while there was an investigation into a specific West Texas A&M University police officer, officials deny that Ecker’s investigation or actions triggered retaliation at any point.
The documents also state that they admit that Ecker wrote emails to Texas A&M University System Chancellor John Sharp about the investigation, however, denied that the emails received no response.
Officials ultimately denied in the documents that the university, or the system, sought to brush off allegations of retaliation. Officials also denied the claims that the university and the system protected the officers involved by transferring the investigation and firing Ecker.
“Defendants had legitimate, non-retaliatory reasons for all actions affecting Ecker that she contends were unlawful,” the documents read. “Defendants’ actions relevant to this suit were done in good faith and without malice, willfulness or intent.”
Officials said in the documents that they are bringing forward the defenses of the eleventh amendment surrounding immunity and sovereign immunity from this lawsuit. They also allege that Ecker’s claims are barred because some of the claims fall outside a 300-day statute of limitations period prior to the suit, and claim that Ecker “failed to exhaust her administrative remedies and thus failed to meet all conditions precedent and statutory prerequisites.”
This is a developing story. MyHighPlains.com will update this article as new information becomes available.
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