Western Kentucky ex-official sues school, claims defamation

Deborah Wilkins spent more than 25 years as the school's general counsel

BOWLING GREEN, Ky. (AP) — Western Kentucky University’s general counsel of more than 25 years sued the school and several top administrators last week, claiming she was wrongfully terminated and defamed.

Deborah Wilkins also alleged violations of the state’s civil rights and whistleblower acts, fraud, invasion of privacy, falsification of business records, and intentional infliction of emotional distress, the Daily News reported.

In her lawsuit, Wilkins said she was marginalized by university leaders during a series of administrative reorganizations beginning in 2018. She was paid less than others with less experience and then forced into the position of Title IX coordinator. In that role, she was given no staff or budget. Attempts to report Title IX violations were rebuffed, leading to further conflicts. She was terminated in November.

WKU attorney Gregg Hovious called Wilkins’ claims “baseless.” Wilkins was let go because “her unpredictable behavior escalated to a point that she could no longer be trusted to fulfill the duties of her employment agreement or advance the interests of the university,” he said.

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