Deposed black professor wins damage award

May 19, 1993|By New York Times News Service

NEW YORK -- A federal jury ordered officials of the Cit University of New York to pay Leonard Jeffries $400,000 for violating his free speech rights by removing him as chairman of the black studies department at City College after he made a 1991 speech widely criticized as anti-Semitic.

The jury assigned damages to six officials who were found to have violated Mr. Jeffries' rights.

Mr. Jeffries had sought $25 million in punitive damages from 15 officials, but he said yesterday he was pleased with the verdict. "I think the message is clear that there is freedom of speech, that that umbrella stretches to African people," he said.

Mr. Jeffries contended that he had been removed from his post because of a speech in which he talked of a Jewish conspiracy against blacks. University officials tried to show in the three-week trial that he was deposed only because he was an incompetent administrator.

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