Antisemitism whistleblower wins $1 million settlement after unfair firing

Professor Daniel Pollack-Pelzner was terminated in 2021 after raising the alarm about the sexual harassment of senior administrators and antisemitic jokes.

By World Israel News Staff

A Jewish professor who was fired after raising concerns over sexual harassment by senior administrators and antisemitic statements by his university’s president was awarded a $1 million settlement recently.

Professor Daniel Pollack-Pelzner, who taught English at Linfield University, a small, liberal arts school in McMinnville, Oregon, first raised the alarm about antisemitism and inappropriate behavior on campus in 2021.

The tenured professor went public about a hostile environment for staff at the school, including sexual harassment targeted members of the school’s Board of Trustees.

He also noted that the school’s president, Miles K. Davis, had joked about gas chambers and the size of Jewish noses.

Rather than address Pollack-Pelzner’s concerns, the university swiftly fired him. He sued the educational institution for $4 million, stating that the whistleblowing led to his termination.

An investigation by the American Association of University Professors found that Pollack-Pelzner had been unfairly fired and his right to due process was violated, the Jewish Telegraphic Agency (JTA) reported.

According to records obtained by The Oregonian/OregonLive, the $1 million settlement awarded to Pollack-Pelzner shields the university from further legal action, but did not require the institution to admit wrongdoing or apologize to him.

“Everyone should be able to work and study without fear of discrimination or harassment, and everyone should be able to report their safety concerns without fear of retaliation,” Pollack-Pelzner said in a media statement.

Read  ‘Incredibly disturbing antisemitic advertisement’ debuts in Toronto

“I’m grateful for the many students, alumni, and colleagues who joined me in demanding change and refused to be silenced when Linfield failed to uphold these essential principles.”

Attorney Dana L. Sullivan, who represented Pollack-Pelzner, told The Oregonian that “we hope his case sends a clear message that sexual harassment must not be tolerated on any campus and that institutions that seek to silence whistleblowers will be held to account.”

Scott Nelson, Linfield University’s associate vice president for strategic communications, continued to deny that Pollack-Pelzner’s firing was retaliation for his whistleblowing. Nelson said the decision to settle came from the university’s insurers, who “felt it preferable to resolve this situation and move on.”