Michele Perkins, who was fired as chancellor of New England College earlier this year, has sued the college and is alleging gender discrimination and emotional distress, according to NHPR.org, a New Hampshire public radio news service.
Perkins was president of the New Hampshire college for 14 years before being named chancellor in 2022. She alleges that she was unexpectedly released in April during an online meeting “in a humiliating and crude manner,” according to her lawsuit. She also said her firing was the culmination of a campaign of misogyny and a culture of gender bias among certain top officials at the school she led for more than a decade.
“I was stunned to be dismissed on a Zoom call with other people on the call with no advance warning and no reason,” Perkins told NHPR. “And so this lawsuit is the only way I know that current leadership can be held accountable for their actions.”
She claims in court documents filed in U.S. District Court in Vermont, where she now resides, that had she been “a male past president of the college with her remarkable record, the board chair and college president would have taken her out to lunch at their country club” to discuss their concerns rather than ousting her during the Zoom call, according to the news outlet.
The lawsuit names the college and its current president, Wayne Lesperance, as defendants.
Lex Scourby, chair of the college’s Board of Trustees, said, “While we are disappointed by recent developments, our first priority will always be our students and the continued delivery of high-quality education,” NHPR.org reported.