UB Law School Dean to Step Down Amid Charges of Perjury
by Buck Quigley - posted 6:31 pm, September 22, 2014
The UB News Center reports today that Makau Mutua will be stepping down as Dean of UB’s Law School effective December 19. He’ll then return to the law school faculty as SUNY Distinguished Professor and Floyd H. and Hilda L. Hurst Faculty Scholar.
From the press release:
UB President Satish K. Tripathi said that through Mutua’s leadership the UB Law School is “well positioned to achieve even greater prominence in legal education and scholarship.”
“I want to express my heartfelt thanks and deepest appreciation to Makau for his leadership and service to our university during his tenure as dean,” Tripathi said.
Mutua was educated at the University of Nairobi, the University of Dar-es-Salaam and Harvard Law School. But the statement from UB doesn’t mention anything that was reported last month in The Star newspaper based in Nairobi, Kenya.
From The Star:
A Kenyan law professor based in US has been accused of committing perjury in an American court, his co-accused now wants the cases separated.
Makau Mutua, a human and civil rights activist, has been accused of lying in court.
He is sued for allegedly irregularly laying off Jeffrey Malkan, a lecturer at Buffalo Law School where Mutua is a Dean.
Evidence against Mutua is said to include sworn deposition testimony and sworn affidavits from seven tenured faculty members.
How embarrassing to all us local media outlets that this hometown story was broken over a month ago by a paper in Nairobi.
Among the legal documents connected to the case is the December 5, 2013 Declaration of President Satish K. Tripathi, submitted to the court in exchange for the Plaintiff’s withdrawal of a subpoena—wherein we learn that the former computer scientist and current SUNY at Buffalo president relies on staff to read his email (EDIT: mail) for him. At the time relevant to the complaint, Tripathi was serving as UB Provost.
From Tripathi’s declaration to the court:
Document 2 is a series of emails between various individuals on six pages. I am not sure whether or which emails were separately strung together or constitute a continuous email chain. I do not recall previously reviewing any of these emails. I note that one email was addressed to me and that there is a reply from me. I do not recall having any conversations with Mr. Mutua or anyone else concerning the matters discussed in these emails. I do recall generally the fact that there was a hearing involving the Public Employment Relations Board (“PERB”) and that Mr. Mutua conveyed by email that the University won the hearing. I do not recall having any conversations with Mr. Mutua or anyone else concerning the PERB hearing. I also note that there is an email from Mr. Mutua to James (Jim) Newton stating that I showed Mr. Mutua a letter—presumably the letter referenced at the bottom of page one which Mr. Mutua refers to as a letter to me from the union in which the union asks me to fire Mr. Mutua. I do not recall showing Mr. Mutua this letter. I also do not recall having any conversations with Mr. Mutua or anyone else about the referenced letter.
Document 3 is an undated letter from Mr. Malkan to “Council Members” with attachment. I do not recall seeing this letter or the attachment prior to this review. I also do not recall having any conversations with anyone about this letter or its contents. Based on the dates set forth in the letter, I assume that this letter was sent after litigation was commenced and therefore the letter would have been routed to SUNY Counsel by my staff who reads my mail, but I am unaware of any facts in this regard.
Five of Tripathi’s twenty responses conclude with the same highlighted language.
A source tells us that the federal case is a Section 1983 action for violation of the Fourteenth Amendment (right to due process) by a state official acting under color of state law—and the damages to which Malkan is entitled are punitive damages, emotional distress damages, and civil rights attorney fees, running potentially into the multi-million dollar range.