The story starts in the fall of 1998, when a child named Michael Lubin enrolled at a boarding school, Milton Academy, which is a prestigious, 200-year-old boarding school. The enrollment is about 665, about 49% women, and about 30% "students of color". About 45% of the students are boarders, the rest are day students.
Each of the boarding students is assigned an advisor. Michael Lubin's was Eduardo Villavicencio, a Latino teacher (possibly of computer science). Evidently there was some problem early on, as Richard Lubin, Michael's father, requested a change in advisers late in 1998 or early in 1999. These requests for change are not lightly granted, and after extensive discussion, it was decided that Michael would remain Mr. Villavicencio's advisee.
The next year (Sept. 1999-2000), Michael Lubin behaved badly: he was brought before the academy's disciplinary committee for leaving a long, harassing, name-calling, message, including racial epithets on the voice mail of a black male student. (If Lubin was 14 in the fall of 1998, he was either 15 or 16 at the time of this lapse of civility.) He was suspended from Milton for six months. When he returned, he moved to a different dormitory, and therefore had a different advisor.
So let's recap: Michael Lubin had Eduardo Villavicencio as an advisor for his freshman year, and a few weeks of his sophomore year, until Lubin behaved badly toward another student and was suspended. That's it, that is the end of his advisory relationship with Villavicencio. The parents sue, four years later?
Lubin's junior year (2000-2001) passed uneventfully. We don't know what kind of effort Lubin made, or what kind of grades he earned. Lubin's senior year (2001-2002) was marred by another expulsion--it isn't reported for what actions, or how long.
We don't know where Lubin was for the next academic year (2002-2003), but he is now (2003-2004) a freshman studying business at Chapman University in Orange, Calif. Chapman is not a particularly selective institution. There are still spaces available in the freshman class forming this fall.
OK, Michael Lubin had nothing to do with Eduardo Villavicencio after 2000. How did having a Latino as an advisor (whose "offenses" in the suit are so trivial I'm not even putting them in there) make Michael behave in a manner--leaving a racial-slur message--that should make his parents writhe with embarassment? How did having a Latino advisor two years previously cause Michael to behave so badly he was suspended a second time?
Why are the Lubins suing now? Is it because sending Michael to Milton didn't get him into an Ivy League, or even a second-tier institution? Is it because Chapman is the best he can do?
Oh, and Michael's younger brother is due to graduate soon...from Milton Academy.
Why is this even an issue? One is I bet it will be picked up by the right wing and ballyhoo'ed around as an example of the evilness of diversity/cultural competence training. Two is that independent schools don't have endless resources. Every dollar that goes to a frivolous suit like this means that there's less money for the important stuff....such as scholarships.