Former FAMU Asst. Professor Wins Settlement against university

A former assistant professor was awarded a $8,135.90 settlement after suing Florida A&M for discrimination he said was based on his nationality.

 Uford Madden filed a lawsuit against the university in November 2010 for $15,000, stating he was denied tenure or promotions because he is Jamaican.

Marie Mattox, Madden’s attorney, said she is pleased with settlement. “I think we can say he’s pleased the case has been resolved,” she said.

In recent years, Mattox has built a steady business representing former FAMU employees who are suing the university.

In 2009, she helped a former director of a scholarship program win a settlement of about $250,000. Mattox is also representing Trenton Kirksey, a FAMU student suing the Board of Trustees for alleged sexual harassment.

Through her assistance Madden was awarded, not including attorney fees and costs.

“The settlement speaks for itself,” said Elizabeth Davenport, the president of United Faculty of Florida, the FAMU chapter. 

Employed in August 2002, Madden held the position of assistant professor in the College of Engineering Sciences, Technology and Agriculture. He was denied tenure and promotion in 2008 and again in 2009, leading to his termination in June 2010. According to the settlement, FAMU denies any wrongdoing and believes in good faith that Madden’s claims are not valid ones.

Madden claims he was as qualified, or more qualified than non-Jamaican workers who received tenure or were promoted during a certain time

frame and that he was treated differently from other co-workers who were not of Jamaican origin.

“Since the issue is resolved we don’t feel threatened,” said Avery McKnight, the university’s general counsel.

FAMU has a non-discrimination policy, which states that each member of the discrimination. The policy does include national origin.

“If they’re able to prove it, then it’s wrong. As an HBCU, FAMU is supposed to offer equal opportunity for everyone,” said Joash Gonsalves, a 21-year-old business student from Sugar Land, Texas.

McKnight also said that he doesn’t think this will have any effect on faculty and staff in the future. Some of the damages awarded to Madden

include emotional distress, mental pain and suffering, and inconvenience along with other non-pecuniary losses.