A federal lawsuit has been filed against University of Michigan-Flint by Heather Johnson, the former director of the Center of Gender and Sexuality who said she was fired unfairly.
“Nothing had previously been raised,” said Johnson. “My personal file was great, so I was caught off guard. I was basically targeted and dismissed because of who I am. Some people don’t like any of the things I represent.”
She said what she represents is helping LGBTQIA students and faculty and giving them a safe place to be themselves. It meant everything to her to get to do that.
“It was a job where I got to come and show up as who I am, as a queer woman doing this work,” said Johnson. “It was a way for me to be an advocate for a community I value very much.”
Johnson said in her 16 months as a director, she helped form the Gender and Sexuality Center, secured a $100,000 grant and helped host more than 90 events.
She said the reason she was let go was that she was not a team player and that she had said something in a women’s commission that the chancellor hadn’t attended a meeting, but in fact, he hadn’t attended yet.
In wake of Johnson’s firing, she has had huge support from the campus community.
“The Women and Gender Studies faculty, all 13 of them,” said Johnson. “A number of students and alumni have all basically cried out. Written letter of support or done something to show that they really care and are demanding my reinstatement. There’s a lot of questions that remain unanswered. They didn’t follow an HR protocol.”
The university will have to respond to the lawsuit within the next few weeks.
When TV5 reached out to the university, we were told no comment.