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Stewart v. Morgan State Univ.

United States District Court, D. Maryland

September 3, 2014


Page 591

Troy Stewart, Plaintiff, Pro se, Bowie, MD.

For Morgan State University, Warren Hayman, Benjamin Welsh, Dallas R. Evans, Martin R. Resnik, T. Joan Robinson, David Wilson, Defendants: Sally Lotz Swann, Office of the Attorney General, Baltimore, MD.

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DEBORAH K. CHASANOW, United States District Judge.

Presently pending and ready for resolution in this discrimination case is the motion for summary judgment filed by Defendants Morgan State University (" Morgan State" ), Dallas R. Evans, Warren Hayman, Martin R. Resnick, T. Joan Robinson, Benjamin Welsh, and David Wilson. (ECF No. 34). Also pending is Defendant's motion to strike Plaintiff's opposition to the summary judgment motion. (ECF No. 37). The issues have been fully briefed, and the court now rules, no hearing being deemed necessary. Local Rule 105.6. For the following reasons, Defendants' motion for summary judgment will be granted. Defendants' motion to strike will be denied.

I. Background

A. Factual Background

Plaintiff Troy Stewart, proceeding pro se, claims that he was discriminated against on the basis of race when he was dismissed from his graduate program at Morgan State, a historically-black college. Plaintiff brings claims for race discrimination and retaliation in violation of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, 42 U.S.C. § 2000e, et seq., breach of contract, and constitutional violations pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983.

In the spring semester of 2010, Plaintiff Troy Stewart, an African-American male, enrolled at Morgan State University, where he began pursuing an Ed.D Degree in Urban Educational Leadership. (ECF No. 36, at 4-5). The graduate program in which Plaintiff enrolled required Ed.D candidates to complete a minimum of sixty credit hours, with an overall 3.0 grade point average, with the grade of " C" as the minimum acceptable grade. (ECF No. 12-3, at 8)[1]. The program requirements indicate that " [a] student who receives two C's will be dismissed from the [Ed.D] program." ( Id. ).

Plaintiff was enrolled in three traditional lecture classes and one internship course in the spring semester of 2010. (ECF No. 36-1, at 2). Dr. Benjamin Welsh, a Caucasian male, served as Plaintiff's supervisor for his internship course, EDAD 603, Administration and Social Policy, and taught two other courses in which Plaintiff was enrolled: EDAD 601, Theories and Practices of Urban Educational Leadership, and ASLP 602, Philosophy of Education. (ECF No. 12-3, at 4). At the outset of the internship, Dr. Welsh and Plaintiff both signed a " Statement of Agreement" on January 27, 2010, outlining the objectives and requirements of the internship. (ECF No. 12-2). The Statement of Agreement states:

Internship Objectives (Learning Experiences):
To identify, research, and get an idea on how many grants are out here for at-

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risk youths! I will dedicate at least 30 hours per week for 7 weeks, which will be equivalent to 210 hours of grant research experience completing my first internship experience in seven weeks. This research could help in identifying a future grant.
I will perform and conduct independent research from my home-based location and research libraries. I will search federal and state databases to get an idea of the types of grants that are being offered. I will look at sites such as This will give me an idea of what is being offered in the field of education for at-risk youths. I will consult with Dr. Benjamin Welsh, my on-site supervisor. I will consult with him during my internship about my findings.
This will give me experience in searching, identifying, and researching grants. It will also show me the current social policy grants mainly in the field of education. This internship will give me further understanding of federal and state grants.

( ECF No. 12-2, at 2).

Difficulties and differences of opinion developed in Plaintiff's relationship and interactions with Dr. Welsh. Eventually, Plaintiff altered the focus of his internship and appealed some of his grades. After the grades were upheld, which included two " C" grades and an incomplete for the internship, Plaintiff was dismissed from the program by November 2010.

B. Procedural Background

Plaintiff filed a complaint with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (" EEOC" ). The EEOC made no findings and issued him a right to sue letter on October 12, 2011. (ECF No. 1-1). Plaintiff filed a complaint on December 15, 2011 against Morgan State University; Benjamin Welsh, associate professor in the Urban Educational Leadership Doctoral program; Dallas Evans and Martin Resnik, members of Morgan State's Board of Regents; Warren Hayman, interim coordinator of the Urban Educational Leadership Doctoral Program; Joan Robinson, Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs; and David Wilson, President. (ECF No. 1). Plaintiff's complaint alleged counts for employment discrimination and retaliation under Title VII; violation of constitutional rights under 42 U.S.C. § 1983; and breach of contract.

On March 1, 2012, all of the Defendants, except Dallas Evans, moved to dismiss (ECF No. 10); Mr. Evans moved to dismiss on January 11, 2013 (ECF No. 17). The motions to dismiss were granted in part by memorandum opinion and order issued on February 1, 2013. The claims remaining in this case include: (1) Title VII claims against Morgan State; (2) breach of contract claims for injunctive relief; and (3) Section 1983 claims against the individual Defendants. Defendants answered on February 18, 2013, ...

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