Wisconsin university sued over alleged forced resignation of white woman from diversity office

A University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire employee has filed a suit against the school claiming she was forced to resign from a campus diversity office because of her race.

Rochelle Hoffman, a white woman who reportedly now works as a senior academic advising coordinator for the university, filed the federal lawsuit on Dec. 14th.

Her suit claims that when she was promoted to serve as the interim director of the school’s Multicultural Student Services office, students complained to the school’s former Vice Chancellor for Equity, Diversity and Inclusion and Student Affairs Olga Diaz that a white woman wasn’t fit for the position, according to the New York Post.

“You hired a white woman as the Interim Director?” one student bellowed in anger.

“Do you personally feel white staff can do as effective a job as a person of color, within a space for people of color?” another student asked.

The lawsuit states, “The affinity model that had been in use at the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire was premised on the idea that for a student to be well served, they needed to be assigned a coordinator of the same ethnic background and that a white person could not adequately support a student of color.”

“Despite Hoffman’s exceptional qualifications … students, faculty and staff opposed her appointment to Interim Director of MSS solely because she was white. It was exclusively Hoffman’s identity as white that was the issue; criticism was about her race and color, not her qualifications,” it continues.

According to Wisconsin Public Radio, the backlash created a hostile work environment in which Hoffman was pressured to resign from her post and switch to another position — one evidently appropriate for a white woman.

The lawsuit “also alleges she was stripped from a teaching role and faced retaliation after filing a complaint with the university,” WPR notes.

According to the suit, Hoffman originally worked for the school’s Blugold Beginnings office for six years before she was promoted.

“The office served students described as underrepresented, low-income and first-generation college students,” WPR notes.

This reportedly isn’t Hoffman’s first complaint.

“In November 2022, she filed a complaint with the State of Wisconsin Equal Rights Division within the Department of Workforce Development after third-party investigators with the UW System disagreed with her claims [of harassment],” according to WPR.

“Investigators said Hoffman’s claim of being demoted from her interim position was unfounded. They said ‘Diaz never initiated nor requested’ her title change to interim director of Multicultural Student Services through campus human resources, ‘which would have needed additional approvals beyond Diaz to take place,” WPR notes.

The investigators also alleged that what the students and faculty members had said about her and her race didn’t “provide evidence of a pattern of discrimination.”

Hoffman has reportedly also tried pleading her case to state Sen. Patrick Testin, a Republican.

“I think it is important for good educators to bring light to some of the blatant actions of racial discrimination against white folks that are happening at UW Universities — and contributing to the current hostile environment around the UW System,” she wrote in an email to him.

“This experience dragged out over 10 months and irrevocably damaged my career. On a regular basis there are great educators that are told they shouldn’t occupy multicultural space, to check their white privilege, passed over for jobs for an outside candidate of color, and reminded they are ‘inherently racist’ because they are white,” she added.

Testin subsequently forwarded the email to Assembly Speaker Robin Vos, a Republican.

The following month, Vos said during the Republican Party of Wisconsin’s state convention that DEI stands for “division, exclusion and indoctrination” and that it’s “the single most important issue that we are facing as a people, as a nation, and really, humanity.”

Then come September of this year, Vos “announced he would block pre-approved raises for around 34,000 UW employees until administrators eliminate DEI programs and staff,” WPR notes.

He reportedly followed through on the threat in November, prompting the UW Board of Regents to compromise and accept a deal to place new limits on DEI staff positions and programs.

Responding to word of Hoffman’s suit, users of the social media platform X noted that this sort of racism is fast becoming the norm on the left.


Vivek Saxena


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