Logan Isaac (MTS ’13) began a two year graduate program at Duke University in the Fall 2010 semester. After his first year, he took a leave of absence following a difficult experience as a student veteran. Before returning to his studies in Fall 2012, he assumed the presidency of Duke Vets and started a student veteran group for the Divinity School in 2012.
He graduated in September 2013, around which time he created the “Issues and Proposals Document,” and spent a year working as an Adjunct Professor in Fayetteville and Fort Bragg. After a year overseas earning a second masters degree, he returned to Duke in 2016 as a teaching assistant in the Divinity School.
On February 29, 2016, he spoke with his dean about how the difficulties he faced as a student veteran had transferred to his employment. He was referred to an associate dean, who failed to keep Isaac’s concerns confidential. These interactions were the impetus for Isaac filing an internal complaint with the Office of Institutional Equity (OIE).
Isaac initiated a complaint with OIE on June 8, 2016. At the time of his compliant, “Veteran Status” was missing from harassment and discrimination policies at the University, a violation of federal law. University grievance procedures stipulate that inquiries should be completed “within forty-five (45) workdays of the receipt of the complaint.” He was interviewed by OIE on June 16, 2016 at their offices in Smith Warehouse in Durham. The self-imposed deadline expired August 10, 2016 with no communication from OIE.
On August 23, 2016, a Senior Vice President at OIE publicly disclosed Isaac’s communication with his office to a room full of teaching assistants, a violation of University policy obligating all OIE representatives to “privacy and discretion.” Isaac allowed the inquiry to proceed, but would not receive a report of OIE’s work for several more months.
OFCCP Compliance Review
Following that event, Isaac submitted a similar complaint to the Department of Labor’s Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs (OFCCP) on September 13, 2016, but was not interviewed by OFCCP personnel until November 2, 2016. The following day, flyers advertising a course he was to give the following semester were removed from many locations despite having been approved by proper authorities. This was reported to OIE and to OFCCP because it appeared retaliatory. The University took no action.
On November 7, 2016, OIE quietly published an update to two policy documents relevant to Isaac’s case, including the University’s “Discrimination Grievance Procedure” and “Harassment Policy and Procedures.” Altering these two policies while the University was under investigation by a federal agency represents an “Obstruction of Justice.”
“OFCCP Interviews” with Duke employees were conducted on campus in December, after the University had revised multiple policies related to Isaac’s complaint without notice. Despite there being no lawsuit filed by Isaac, the University retained and made available legal “Representation” to current and former employees summoned for interviews. Those interviews were later acquired through a Freedom of Information Act request and disclosed multiple instances of noncompliance with federal labor law.
Additional interviews were conducted in-person or over the phone in early 2017, but not all interviews included standardized questions. In many interviews, the “EEO/Affirmative Action Questions” varied significantly or did not get asked at all, despite being central to Isaac’s claims.
The results of the compliance review were passed around internally by OFCCP as early as April 21, 2017. Isaac was informed of this on May 22, 2017 but it was not officially relayed to him until a month later. OFCCP offered him ten days to submit additional evidence, until July 6, 2017, but closed that window a day early and refused further consideration of his case, a clear violation of “Due Process.”
Following his receipt of the case file through FOIA, Isaac requested “OFCCP Reconsider” their decision in accordance with 41 C.F.R. § 60-300.61(e) on October 25, 2017. The OFCCP Regional Director denied Isaac’s request on November 20, 2017. The letter outlining his decision exhibited troublingly selective attention to the request itself, OFCCP’s own enforcement manual and mechanisms, and the case itself. Isaac replied with itemized objections and will continue to seek fair and full consideration of his case in accordance with 41 CFR 60-300.