Discrimination lawsuit against CCC settled

By Mike Linn

A Clovis woman who filed a federal lawsuit alleging discrimination against Clovis Community College has received an out-of-court settlement.

The settlement provides $24,000 to Angelina Baca-Rodriguez, said CCC attorney Steve Bell. But CCC officials remain firm in their position that discrimination never occurred.

Bell said CCC officials did not want to settle but the college’s insurance company made the decision because court and attorney fees would have cost an additional $10,000 to continue the court dispute.

“This is very disappointing and this was not Clovis Community College’s desire,” Bell said on Wednesday. “We all thought there was no discrimination. But it made economic sense (to settle).”

Baca-Rodriguez would not comment on the settlement. She is an attorney and represented herself in the case, but was not an attorney when she applied for the job at CCC in the summer of 2002, Bell said.

Bell said Baca-Rodriguez claimed in her lawsuit that she was not selected as the director of TRIO Student Support Services at the college because she is Hispanic.

Bell said initially Baca-Rodriguez was one of the front runners for the job, but after further testing of the candidates’ budgeting skills she fell out of favor. The man who was hired is white and has a master’s degree in business, Bell said, and was experienced at handling budgets, an important aspect of the position.

Bell said he knows of two other pending cases — one in Roosevelt County District Court, another with the state’s Human Rights Division — in which female Hispanics have claimed discrimination against CCC.

Bell said the district court case involves a former CCC employee who was let go for budgetary reasons. The woman was the last person hired, so she was the first one the college let go with the budget cuts, Bell said.

The case with the Human Rights Division also involves an employee who lost her job and is claiming discrimination against the college.

The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission found no probable cause about three months ago from a third former CCC employee, male and Hispanic, who also alleged discrimination against the college, Bell said.

“You can conduct your business in a non-discriminatory fashion, but that doesn’t keep people from saying you’ve discriminated against them,” Bell said.