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Former USF academic adviser claiming discrimination against university gets paid leave during investigation

TAMPA — The firing of an academic adviser who has accused USF of racial discrimination and covering up NCAA violations has been rescinded, and she has been placed on administrative leave with pay pending further investigation, her attorney said Saturday.

Wil Florin, who represents Myrtice Landers, said USF's Office of Diversity and Equal Opportunity has scheduled a mediation for Thursday. Landers, who is black, filed a discrimination claim with the Florida Commission on Human Relations and the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.

Florin, who also represents fired football coach Jim Leavitt in a lawsuit against USF not related to Landers' complaint, said Landers has named athletic director Doug Woolard as the respondent in her claim.

The university said it's investigating Landers' claim.

USF spokesman Michael Hoad reiterated Saturday that Landers was working under the oversight of the Office of Faculty and Academic Affairs and not Woolard. He also said it is common for employees to be placed on administrative leave during investigations by the Office of Diversity and Equal Opportunity.

Landers, 52, was fired last month for committing a secondary NCAA violation, 10 months short of being fully vested in the pension program after 30 years at USF.

Landers doesn't deny committing the violation — in the spring she gave $326 in books to a female basketball walk-on she said she believed was on scholarship — and her personnel file has two previous disciplinary actions, one addressed as a "final warning." But she says white employees made similar mistakes without the same actions taken against them. Neither she nor her lawyer have given details.

Landers also says Woolard told her she had a clean slate after the warning when Amy Perkins took over for Jo-Ann Nestor to oversee the athletic department's academic aspects.

Former USF academic adviser claiming discrimination against university gets paid leave during investigation 08/07/10 [Last modified: Saturday, August 7, 2010 9:59pm]
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