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Missouri appeals court agrees white professor at Harris-Stowe was fired over race

Missouri appeals court agrees white professor at Harris-Stowe was fired over race

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Harris-Stowe

The entrance to Harris-Stowe State University's Henry Givens Jr. Campus on Compton Avenue is photographed on Thursday, April 28, 2016. Photo by Christian Gooden, cgooden@post-dispatch.com

ST. LOUIS • A Missouri appeals court has ruled that a white professor at predominantly black Harris-Stowe State university was fired "because of the color of her skin."

A three-judge panel of the Missouri Court of Appeals on Tuesday affirmed a 2015 jury verdict that awarded nearly $5 million to Beverly Wilkins, a former professor at Harris-Stowe.

Wilkins claimed in her lawsuit that she was repeatedly passed over for promotions during nine years of employment before being fired in 2010.

The university blamed state budget cuts, but the lawsuit says two black professors with less tenure than Wilkins kept their jobs.

It's unclear if the university will appeal. The university says in a statement that it has not yet had an opportunity to review the ruling with its lawyers.

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