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$5M award upheld in white professor's discrimination case vs. Harris-Stowe

Entrance to Harris-Stowe State University, April 2013
Paul Sableman (cropped image) | Flickr

A white professor at a predominantly black university in St. Louis was fired "because of the color of her skin," a three-judge panel of the Missouri Court of Appeals ruled Tuesday.

Their decision affirmed a 2015 jury verdict that awarded nearly $5 million to Beverly Wilkins, a former professor at Harris-Stowe State University. 

Wilkins claimed in her lawsuit that she was repeatedly passed over for promotions during nine years of employment before being fired in 2010.

The university blamed state budget cuts, but the lawsuit says two black professors with less tenure than Wilkins kept their jobs.

It's unclear whether the university will appeal. The university said in a statement that it has not yet had an opportunity to review the ruling with its lawyers.