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UT HR official fights for job after newspaper op-ed furor

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in HR Management,Human Resources

Crystal Dixon, former associate vice president of HR at the University of Toledo (UT), has filed a federal lawsuit challenging her termination for writing a newspaper column that conflicted with the university’s values.

In April 2008, Dixon wrote an opinion piece defending limits on domestic-partner benefits at the university in an online edition of the Toledo Free Press.

“I take great umbrage at the notion that those choosing the homosexual lifestyle are ‘civil rights victims,’” Dixon wrote. “I cannot wake up tomorrow and not be a black woman.” She added, “There are consequences for each of our choices, including those who violate God’s divine order.” The piece did not identify her as a UT employee.

Two weeks later, the university fired Dixon. Free Press Editor in Chief Michael Miller responded, “The university operates in an atmosphere of idea exchange, and while I recognize the institution’s desire to distance itself from her, I am disappointed she has been punished for expressing her views.”

University spokesman Larry Burns said it was Dixon’s views, not the fact that she expressed them, that led to her termination.

Burns said in a statement, “This issue is not about freedom of speech, but about her ability to perform her job given her statements.”

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