Patricia Garrison -- who was hired in 2007 as assistant dean of academic support at Thurgood Marshall School of Law -- claims in her suit she has been discriminated against "for one reason and one reason alone -- she is Caucasian," the Houston Chronicle reported Thursday.
U.S. District Judge Keith Ellison rejected the university's request to dismiss the suit.
TSU spokeswoman told the Chronicle in an email the school "has and continues to deny it has acted in a discriminatory manner toward Patricia Garrison."
"TSU takes very seriously the claims made by Ms. Garrison against the university, and intends to vigorously defend itself against these baseless allegations."
The suit alleges that Garrison -- who earned a law degree from Thurgood Marshall after a career in business -- was initially recognized for her accomplishments but things changed beginning in September 2009, when Professor Dannye Holley was named interim dean.
"Despite all her accomplishments (including increasing the bar passage rate by over 10 percent in three years' time) the new dean quickly embarked on a campaign to make her life extremely difficult," the lawsuit claims. "Instead of allowing her to run her own department, as she does with her peers, Dean Holley micromanaged every detail and refused to give her the authority she needs to do the job."
The lawsuit also alleges TSU failed to pay Garrison $5,000 for a course she taught in fall 2009.