Howard University has reached an out-of-court settlement for an undisclosed sum with Benjamin G. Cooke, a former associate professor who accused the university of breach of contract and of discriminating against him because his wife is white.
The settlement, filed in D.C. Superior Court, was reached just before a trial was scheduled to begin last Thursday. It is the seventh case brought by faculty members and other employes that Howard has settled in the past two years.
In the same period, Superior Court juries have decided against the university in three other cases, including a $375,000 award last Tuesday to Marie L. Best, who sued Howard after being fired as a pharmacy professor.
Julian Tepper, Cooke's attorney, said he was "extremely satisfied" with the outcome of the case, but he said that as part of the settlement he agreed not to discuss its terms. Alan Hermesch, a spokesman for Howard, said the university would not comment.
Cooke, 54, who lives in Kensington, taught in Howard's communications school from 1972 to 1978. He now works for "Tony Brown's Journal," a syndicated television show.
In his complaint, Cooke, who is black, said he was fired even though he had tenure, and said he was treated improperly because of "racial considerations." Howard, in its filings, denied Cooke's allegations and said he was considered a "poor teacher."