A UC Riverside professor with a history of race-related conflicts with the UC system will join supporters tomorrow to demand answers regarding a planned sabbatical he says he was denied, resulting in his loss of a federally sponsored fellowship.
Professor Waymond Rodgers, who is black and has been teaching business management at UCR since 1992, alleges that the university unjustifiably revoked a scheduled sabbatical in April after he had been selected as a U.S. State Department Franklin Fellow — the first UCR professor to receive the honor.
According to the State Department website, fellows are afforded the opportunity to work with officials from the department or the the U.S. Agency for International Development on finding ways to improve “multilateral diplomacy,” human rights, international trade and democracy.
Fellows are required to devote a year’s service.
According to Rodgers, he was named to the program in August 2010, and days before his sabbatical was to begin last April, UCR rescinded its agreement with the State Department, without specifying why.
A statement released by the public relations firm representing Rodgers, San Bernardino-based Dameron Communications, indicated that he is challenging the university’s action as an act of alleged racism.
Emails seeking comment from UCR were not immediately answered.
The professor will be joined by the Rev. Paul Munford, president of the Riverside Clergy Association, and Silvia Jones, president of Concerned Citizens of UCR, for a late-morning news briefing tomorrow outside Hinderaker Hall.
The speakers are expected to air their concerns and address Rodgers’ upcoming hearing before a UC disciplinary committee, which is investigating the professor’s part-time research work at several international institutions without authorization and his alleged poor classroom performance based on student reviews.
According to published reports, Rodgers has been at odds with UCR and the UC system on numerous occasions, going back to the early 1990s. In 1993, he sued the UC system in federal court, alleging racial discrimination over attempts to revoke his tenure. UC officials argued that he had not earned it.
The suit was settled out of court.
In 1996, Rodgers filed a complaint with the U.S. Department of Labor over UCR’s denial of salary increases, which he attributed to discrimination. The government determined the claim had merit.