The opinion of the court was delivered by: WEINFELD
Plaintiff Edgar Rodriguez, formerly an Assistant Professor at the State University of New York at New Paltz (SUNY-New Paltz), commenced this action for damages and injunctive relief against defendants SUNY New-Paltz, his former employer, and Alice Chandler, President of SUNY New-Paltz.
Plaintiff, who is a United States citizen and a Puerto Rican, alleges that the defendants paid him a lower salary than that paid to less senior Assistant Professors, denied him tenure, and terminated his employment because of his race, his national origin, and his activities as an advocate for faculty and student minority interests at the college.
Plaintiff seeks damages and injunctive relief under three separate counts: Count One alleges violation of his first and fourteenth amendment rights and of 42 U.S.C. § 1983; Count Two alleges discrimination on the basis of race and national origin under the fourteenth amendment and § 1983, as well as under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 as amended by the Equal Employment Opportunity Act, 42 U.S.C. § 2000e et. seq. (Title VII), and under the Civil Rights Act of 1870, 42 U.S.C. § 1981; and Count Three alleges retaliation in violation of the fourteenth amendment and § 1983, as well as § 1981, against plaintiff for his charges of denial of equal employment and equal educational opportunities for minorities.
Defendants move to dismiss plaintiff's claims pursuant to Fed. R. Civ. P. 12(b)(1) as barred by the relevant statutes of limitations and for lack of subject matter jurisdiction and pursuant to Fed. R. Civ. P. 12(b)(6) for failure to state a claim upon which relief can be granted. Defendants also move for dismissal pursuant to Fed. R. Civ. P. 12(b)(3) and 28 U.S.C. § 1406(a) for improper venue, or, if dismissal is not granted, for transfer of venue to the Northern District of New York pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1404(a).
Plaintiff, who taught in two departments at SUNY-New Paltz -- foreign languages and elementary education -- alleges that over the ten-year period of his service, commencing in 1974, because of his race, national origin, and advocacy of student and faculty minority interests, he was subjected to a continuing pattern of discriminatory treatment in salary matters, including denial of merit increases, and unequal treatment in the peer review process leading to tenure, resulting in denial of tenure and dismissal.
Plaintiff was considered for tenure in both departments in which he taught in the Spring of 1983 and alleges that at that time, he "met the standards for the granting of tenure."
He was denied tenure and reappointment, however, after review by committees in both departments, the chairpersons of both departments, the deans of the faculties in which the departments were situated (the Dean of Liberal Arts and Sciences and the Dean of Education), the College Central Committee on Tenure and Reappointment, the Vice President of Academic Affairs, and President Chandler. Plaintiff was informed of this decision in a letter dated June 1, 1983, which stated, in part:
This is to inform you of the decision not to offer you a further appointment after the expiration of your present term appointment on August 31, 1984 . . . .
If we receive by February 1, 1984 in the Office of the Vice President for academic affairs formal notification from the degree-granting institution that your doctoral degree has been awarded, this decision not to renew your appointment will be reviewed . . . . You should be aware, however, that such a degree or its equivalent is not in itself a sufficient condition for a continuing appointment.
Plaintiff did not complete his dissertation by the February 1 deadline, but the college, upon information that his dissertation was approaching completion, extended the deadline to June 1, 1984.
In the spring of 1984, Rodriguez's status was again reviewed by the committees and officials who reviewed his status the previous spring. Despite Rodriguez's progress on his dissertation, the College Central Committee determined that there was a "lack of sufficient evidence to warrant reconsideration." Although Rodriguez alleges that he completed his dissertation by the time of President Chandler's review, she nonetheless reaffirmed the decision set forth in the June 1, 1983 letter, and decided not to grant him tenure. Plaintiff was informed of this decision in a letter dated June 15, 1984.
I. STATUTE OF LIMITATIONS
Defendants assert that plaintiff has failed to file his Title VII, § 1983 or § 1981 claims within the relevant limitations periods. Deciding these issues requires identification of the limitations period that applies to each claim, the date of the discriminatory acts upon which each claim is based, and the date upon which the claims were filed. Plaintiff's tenure claim and his claim of salary discrimination involve different discriminatory acts, and thus require separate consideration.
1. The Title VII claim. -- To assure that a Title VII claim is not time-barred, a plaintiff in New York must file a charge with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) within 300 days after he receives notice of the alleged unlawful employment practice. This period of limitation, mandated by 42 U.S.C. § 2000e-5(e), applies because New York is a "deferral state" -- a state with its own antidiscrimination agency.
Plaintiff's charge was filed with the EEOC on January 16, 1985,
more than 300 days after he received the June 1, 1983 letter notifying him of the decision to deny him tenure and terminate his employment on August 31, 1984.
Defendants thus contend that the Title VII limitations period began when plaintiff received the June 1, 1983 letter. Plaintiff maintains, however, that the discriminatory act that is the basis for his claim is the defendants' decision in the spring of 1984 to reaffirm their earlier denial of tenure and termination of his employment, this time without any offer of reconsideration. Plaintiff thus claims that the Title VII limitations period did not begin until he received the June 15, 1984 letter which "reaffirm[ed] the ...