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UNC's Center For Civil Rights Lawyers Lose Jobs But Plan To Continue Center's Mission

Mark Dorosin, managing attorney at the UNC Center for Civil Rights, makes comments before a panel during a public forum in Chapel Hill, N.C., Thursday, May 11, 2017, regarding the center's ability to represent poor and minority clients in court. The hearing comes just days ahead of the UNC Board of Governors receiving a study and possibly voting to take away that ability from the center.
Gerry Broome
/
AP
Mark Dorosin, managing attorney at the UNC Center for Civil Rights, makes comments before a panel during a public forum in Chapel Hill, N.C., Thursday, May 11, 2017, regarding the center's ability to represent poor and minority clients in court. The hearing comes just days ahead of the UNC Board of Governors receiving a study and possibly voting to take away that ability from the center.
Mark Dorosin, managing attorney at the UNC Center for Civil Rights, makes comments before a panel during a public forum in Chapel Hill, N.C., Thursday, May 11, 2017, regarding the center's ability to represent poor and minority clients in court. The hearing comes just days ahead of the UNC Board of Governors receiving a study and possibly voting to take away that ability from the center.
Gerry Broome
/
Mark Dorosin, managing attorney at the UNC Center for Civil Rights, makes comments before a panel during a public forum in Chapel Hill, N.C., Thursday, May 11, 2017, regarding the center's ability to represent poor and minority clients in court. The hearing comes just days ahead of the UNC Board of Governors receiving a study and possibly voting to take away that ability from the center.

Two attorneys at the UNC Center for Civil Rights say they plan to carry on the center's mission despite losing their positions.  Managing attorney Mark Dorosin and attorney Elizabeth Haddix recently got termination notices from the university, effective in January. They come a month after the UNC Board of Governors voted to ban the center from future litigation.

Supporters of the ban said university centers should not be allowed to sue other state entities.  Dorosin maintains the decision was ideological.

“They would have found some way to come after the center even if it were a clinic,” he said. “I think that idea that somehow the structure was really the issue was just pre-textual because they were opposed to the work that we do, the cases we're involved in, and the communities that we represent.”

The Center for Civil Rights has represented low-income and minority clients for more than 15 years. Dorosin is still working on lawsuits that were filed before the ban.

Dorosin says he and Haddix have filed papers with the Secretary of State to create a non-profit, but would prefer to partner with other national or local organizations.

“Provide direct legal representation and support for community organizations fighting against a legacy of discrimination, to provide public information, and although it will be harder to do, work with law students and really help train the next generation of civil rights and social justice lawyers,” he said.

 

Copyright 2017 North Carolina Public Radio

Will Michaels started his professional radio career at WUNC.
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