TCU names expert witnesses in lawsuit filed by former professor



The Campus Commons. (Heesoo Yang/Staff Photographer)

By Renee Umsted

TCU has named three economics professors as expert witnesses in the lawsuit filed by Dr. Silda Nikaj, a former professor of economics at the university.

Nikaj filed a lawsuit against the university in January, alleging racial and gender discrimination.

“As a practice, Texas Christian University does not comment on the specifics of pending litigation. We will continue to respond to the claims in the complaint as a part of the legal process. The university is committed to providing an academic community that values respect, diversity, equity and inclusion,” TCU wrote in a statement.

Drs. Zackary Hawley, Robert Garnett and Stephen Quinn were listed in the document, filed Oct. 12 in the U.S. District Court in the Northern District of Texas.

Hawley was one of Nikaj’s colleagues. Garnett and Quinn were involved in compensation decisions and tenure reviews of Nikaj, and Quinn, the former department chair for economics, participated in hiring Nikaj and Hawley.

The document filed Oct. 12 on behalf of TCU that names three economics faculty members as expert witnesses.

According to the document, the three faculty members can testify about the following topics:

  • Publications by Hawley and Nikaj
  • Peer review in scholarly publications
  • How the field of economics evaluates and ranks the quality of a researcher’s work and related metrics
  • How the field of economics assesses and ranks the quality of certain outlets or journals based on their impact and related metrics
  • How the outlets in which Hawley and Nikaj published compare
  • How the publications by Hawley and Nikaj ranked based on different metrics

Quinn can also talk about the significance of Hawley’s publications compared to Nikaj’s.

In a separate document also filed Oct. 12, TCU named one of its attorneys, Rory Divin, as an expert witness. Divin is an attorney at McDonald Sanders, the firm representing the university.

According to the document, Divin can testify about the “reasonableness and necessity of attorneys’ fees, costs, and expenses as it relates to this case and the presentation of the case at trial and the work that is necessary for post-trial matters.”