Former New England College President sues NEC for alleged discrimination and emotional distress

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By Nathalie Antigua and Tommy Doe

Former New England College President, Dr. Michele Perkins, is suing NEC for discrimination and emotional distress after she was removed from her position as Chancellor during a Zoom meeting. Dr. Perkins served as President of NEC from 2008 until 2022 when she voluntarily stepped down from the President position and was appointed Chancellor.

According to court documents, Perkins claims in her lawsuit that those in senior leadership “harbored longstanding misogynistic attitudes.” She alleges that the decision to eliminate her was made in a “humiliating and crude manner by an ambush on a Zoom meeting attended by others, without notice, without reason, and without exhibiting any respect for her.” Perkins had been working remotely from her home in Vermont since stepping down as President in September of 2022.

The 16-page court document went into detail about the accomplishments that were made to the college when Perkins served as president, such as fundraising, growth in enrollment, and budgeting. The full lawsuit was obtained by New Hampshire Public Radio and can be found here.

New England College, and current President Wayne Lesperance are named as the defendants in the lawsuit.

In earlier written statements, Perkins supported Lesperance as the new President.

A NewEnglander reporter emailed Perkins’s attorney asking if she was available for an interview, but he replied that she was unable to participate in any interviews at this time.

A statement provided by Lex Scourby, NEC’s Board of Trustees, said they are disappointed by the lawsuit.

“Due in large part to the efforts and contributions put forth by Dr. Perkins during her long tenure of service, New England College is firmly positioned on the national map and the positive impacts of her stewardship continues to be appreciated by the NEC community. While we are disappointed by recent developments, our first priority will always be our students and the continued delivery of high quality education. President Lesperance share that commitment and has exhibited leadership and vision has earned the full support and confident of the New England College Board of Trustees.”

Perkins has requested a jury trial. Any developments on this case will be reported in future stories by The NewEnglander.

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