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By Hannah Marr, News Editor • June 21, 2024

University denies former staffer’s claims that he was fired for being gay

Mark Kennedy, director of the Graduate School of Political Management, was also subpoenaed for an unemployment compensation hearing for ex-staffer David Marshall last week. Hatchet file photo.

The University rejected claims by an ex-staffer in the Graduate School of Political Management who said the school’s leader fired him for being gay, his lawyer said last week.

David Marshall, formerly the school’s executive coordinator, was denied appeal in an informal grievance hearing with GW earlier this summer, attorney Paul Mancini said. He will now decide whether to formally bring his allegations against the school’s director, Mark Kennedy, to the University’s personnel office or  press charges through the D.C. court system.

Marshall, who was fired in May, also delivered a subpoena to Kennedy last week to make his case for unemployment benefits from the city. The D.C. Department of Employment Service denied Marshall compensation after he was fired, Mancini said.

If an informal grievance hearing is unsuccessful, the University’s Human Resources office will conduct an investigation. That process is confidential, said Gilberto Garcia, director of the GW’s Equal Employment Opportunity office, who declined to comment.

A formal grievance hearing would involve a three-person panel and, like the informal process, would not permit lawyers to participate in the hearing – a procedure that Mancini claimed was unfair.

“[Marshall] clearly would prefer to have a formal hearing, but if the University is not going to allow him to be represented by counsel, it may be another kangaroo court,” Mancini said. “This is the most unfair judicial system that I have ever seen, and I’m just completely appalled.”

Kennedy, a former Republican congressman hired in 2012, did not return a comment about the grievance process or the subpoena.

Marshall said he could not comment on his decision because of the University’s “strict confidentiality requirement.”

“I am not at liberty to say whether I have or have not considered requesting that GWU convene a Formal Grievance Hearing to determine whether I was unlawfully terminated on the basis on my sexual orientation,” Marshall said in an email.

Garcia said attorneys may serve as advisers in the formal grievance hearing.

“Neither the complainant nor the respondent may have a lawyer (or non-lawyer) represent them. However, both parties can have advisors to assist them during the grievance process,” Garcia said in an email.

He declined to comment further on the case because the grievance process is confidential.

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