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Office for Civil Rights is looking into the private university's treatment of a suspended professor, Richard Paxton.

PMG FILE PHOTO - Pacific University is under investigation by the U.S. Department of Education office regarding its treatment of suspended professor Richard Paxton.Investigators at the U.S. Department of Education are looking into claims that Pacific University discriminated and retaliated against a professor.

The Department's Office for Civil Rights is investigating the private university's treatment of professor Richard Paxton in regards to potential violations of Title IX, the federal civil rights law that prohibits sex discrimination at any education program that receives federal funding.

Paxton sued the Forest Grove-based university earlier this year after he was suspended last year following complaints from students regarding his alleged comments about gender and ethnicity.

According to the "notice of allegations" sent to Paxton from Pacific, among the comments at issue was a statement Paxton allegedly made in class that "every person has a gender," ignoring the gender identity of agender and nonbinary. Students in a separate class alleged Paxton had described Native Americans as "warlike" and "aggressive," among other comments.

Those alleged student complaints led to Pacific launching an external Title IX investigation of Paxton.

Editor's note: Oregon Public Broadcasting is a news partner of the News-Times and Pamplin Media Group. Read the full story on OPB's website.

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