Professor sues William Mitchell over campus ban

Erlinder at William Mitchell
Law professor Peter Erlinder, shown in this 2009 file photo in his office at William Mitchell College of Law in St. Paul.
Laura Yuen/MPR News, file

A well-known St. Paul law professor and activist has sued his employer, the William Mitchell College of Law in St. Paul, alleging the school is discriminating against him because of his disability.

In the federal lawsuit, Peter Erlinder argues the college barred him from campus in 2012 and falsely claims he poses a threat to the school's dean. Erlinder says he suffers from post-traumatic stress disorder following his imprisonment in Rwanda in 2010.

Erlinder's attorney, Peter Nickitas, says his client was not a threat to campus, and an evaluation by Erlinder's psychiatrist confirmed that.

"The dean asked the psychiatrist point blank if he was a danger to anybody, and the psychiatrist said, 'He's not a danger to anybody.' And yet he remains banned from campus," Nickitas said.

A William Mitchell spokesman says the school vigorously denies the claims. In a court document, the school says Erlinder made threats in conversations and emails with colleagues.

Erlinder was jailed in Rwanda for three weeks after the government accused him of denying the country's genocide.

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