PHILADELPHIA - A federal court has denied Thomas Jefferson University's request to dismiss a discrimination claim.
On Jan. 18, the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania denied the university's motion to dismiss a race discrimination complaint filed by Nicole Katchur against the university. The courts, however, granted the university's motion to dismiss Katchur's claim that the university created a hostile educational environment, along with her sex discrimination claims and retaliation claims.
Katchur claims she was wrongfully denied admission to the university's medical school. A June 2017 graduate of Princeton University, Katchur had applied to Thomas Jefferson University's Sidney Kimmel Medical College hoping to attend medical school.
According to the suit, Katchur attended a meeting at Princeton University in August 2016 after learning that Thomas Jefferson University's Director of Admissions would be in attendance to discuss Jefferson with prospective applicants.
Katchur claims that upon meeting with the director, she was immediately asked about her ethnicity. After telling the director that she was Caucasian, she claims that the director suggested that a genetic test be obtained to verify her ethnicity in order to see if she could "qualify as Native American or American Indian to garner better chances of being accepted to Jefferson."
Katchur alleges the director told her that "after advising a past Caucasian applicant to obtain a genetic test, that the applicant learned that he was partially African-American, and that he was accepted into Jefferson on account of his race."
According to the court filing, Katchur continued to try and steer the conversation away from the "race" discussion but the director continued to make suggestions that Katchur would better her chances if she applied under a race other than Caucasian.
Several days later, Katchur notified the university of the "discriminatory commentary" but was allegedly told by the Vice Provost of Equity at Princeton University that "she would not assist her further because Princeton did not want to 'burn bridges' with Jefferson."
Katchur said she filed a complaint in August 2016 to Jefferson's Dean of Students and Admissions, detailing the “discriminatory behavior," three months before receiving a rejection letter from Jefferson.