Photo Essay: A Behind-The-Scenes Look Into The Trial

Last week, I provided a brief update on the trial in Yu v Idaho State University and also what’s next (we still have to submit our closing arguments in writing, so a decision from the judge won’t be coming right away).

But a lot went into the trial, from preparing experts to long distance travel across country. To give you a behind-the-scenes look into this unique experience — how many of us can say we’ve seen the inside of a US Federal Courthouse? — I’m sharing some photos from our time during and just after the trial.

(Note: Unfortunately, we have no photos from the courtroom itself, as rules prohibit any photography within that space — sorry!)

I shared this photo in the previous post from last week, but I wanted to run it again because it features the full trial team, plus myself and Jun. Seated at front is our main lawyer Ron Coulter; behind him a white suit is our second chair lawyer Holly Sutherland, and next to her is our paralegal Crystal Anderson.

But we also benefited from the enormous support of our family here in the US.

My Dad drove from Ohio to Idaho to attend the trial, and he took copious, detailed notes during the proceedings that have provided us with a valuable outline of what happened.

My Uncle Robert also drove out with my father to attend the trial, and he was a great support as well to all of us.

We were able to take photos with some of our experts who helped support our case.

One of the experts we were most excited to meet was Dr. Gerald Koocher, our ethics in psychology expert. Dr. Koocher is a past President of the American Psychological Association and author of Ethics in Psychology and the Mental Health Professions, the same textbook ISU used to train Jun in ethics in psychology in 2009 and 2011.

The morning this photo was taken, just before Dr. Koocher left, he asked for our address in the US. Much to our surprise, the following week while staying with my family, a package arrived from Dr. Koocher — with signed copies of his ethics textbook (the latest version)Ethics in Psychology and the Mental Health Professions as well as his book Psychologists’ Desk Reference.

Inside, Dr. Koocher wrote a personal note to Jun in each of the books.

The note in this book reads, “To Jun Yu: I hope this is of help to you as you plan a career of helping others. Gerald Koocher, March 1, 2019.”

We also took a picture with Dr. Nadya Fouad, our rebuttal expert in cultural competency.

Dr. Fouad served in leadership roles for many committees for the American Psychological Association, including as the Co-Chair of the Multicultural Guidelines Writing Team (published in 2003), Chair of the Board of Educational Affairs, Chair of the 2006 Competencies Workgroup, and Chair of the Ethics Committee.

One of the greatest blessings is friends who support you when you need them most — such as my friend Judy Brutz, who lives in Pocatello, Idaho, and attended every day of the entire trial. This photo was taken in the US Federal Courthouse. Judy, can’t thank you enough for being there for us.

After the trial, my father, Uncle Robert, myself and Jun all traveled back to Ohio across country in my father’s van. It took us three days to make the journey.

During the trip, we encountered heavy snow while driving on Interstate 80 through Wyoming — but fortunately, the weather did not delay our return to Ohio.

It was a smooth and safe journey for us, overall.

We will continue to fight and believe justice will prevail.

Yu v ISU: Update on Trial and What’s Next in Case

The trial for my husband’s lawsuit, Jun Yu v Idaho State University, took place from Feb 26 to March 1. As it turned out, it was a bench trial — and it’s still not over yet.

On Feb 21, the Court issued a decision stating that “the Court has concluded that the remaining claim for trial in this case – that of a Title VI discrimination claim – and the nature of the relief sought by Plaintiff should he prevail on his liability case, do not allow for a jury trial.” So the trial only took place before the federal judge in this case — Judge Bush, who will also decide the result.

We presented all of our strongest evidence and testimony at the trial. Our witnesses were as follows:

ISU only had four witnesses who testified — all were fact witnesses. The university did not present three of the witnesses they had initially planned to have at the trial — one is their sole expert witness Dr. Dru Gladney, a sociologist whose testimony had been limited by the Court; the other two not present were supervisors from Jun’s internship that allegedly were supporting ISU.

However, the trial hasn’t officially ended because the judge gave the option to submit written closing arguments, which both parties decided to do. So, the first round of written closing arguments from our side will be due March 25. The Defendant will submit their closing arguments April 1, and then we will have a chance to submit a rebuttal on April 8. Afterwards, the judge will then be able to issue a decision on the case. We don’t exactly know when the decision will come, but we will be sure to let you know when it comes out.

It has been a very busy few weeks for me, hence I’ve gotten a bit behind in posting. Expect my posts back on schedule next week, where I’ll provide some further updates on the case and more. In the meantime, wishing all of you a marvelous March!

P.S.: In the photo above you can see me and my husband Jun standing together with the trial team. Seated in front is our primary lawyer Ron Coulter. Behind him, wearing an off-white suit, is Holly Sutherland, our second chair lawyer, and beside her is Crystal Anderson, our paralegal.

ISU Delays Trial, But Must Pay a Price: Jun Yu v ISU Update

(New to Jun Yu v. Idaho State University, the discrimination case that my husband filed against the university? Learn more at our fact sheet.)

Dear friends and supporters,

We have some news to share about Jun Yu versus Idaho State University.

First off, our trial date has moved from November 13, 2018 to February 26, 2019. ISU proposed the delay in trial date and the Court granted that request.

However, in a surprise move, the Court also stated the following in its decision to allow the trial delay:

…in the interest of fairness and justice, the Court will require that Defendant pay the expenses, including reasonable attorney fees, incurred by Plaintiff as a direct result of the trial continuance that cannot reasonably be avoided.[emphasis added]

We are very grateful for this, as well as the fact that the Court acknowledged the following:

Plaintiff understandably opposes the motion for reasons of expense, the difficulty in reassembling witnesses, the inconvenience for Plaintiff and his counsel in changing the extensive planning that has gone into the trial preparation, and because of the additional delay in bringing the case to a conclusion. In almost any other circumstance, the Court would not agree to allow for such a continuance because the filing of the motion on the eve of trial inescapably creates a hardship, will cause additional expense, and is potentially prejudicial to Plaintiff.[emphasis added]

You can view all these documents and more at our Jun Yu v. Idaho State University Federal Lawsuit – Public Documents page.

Jun and I remain confident moving forward and believe we are closer than ever to gaining victory and justice. We couldn’t have made it this far, though, without your support. Thank you so much for being there for us.

We still have work to do — but we’re encouraged and determined to keep fighting until justice prevails.

P.S.: If you’re new to this discrimination case, learn more through our Jun Yu v. Idaho State University – Fact Sheet.

We Have a Trial Date and Evidence of Discrimination by Idaho State University

We have some good news for you in my husband’s case (Jun Yu versus Idaho State University)!

But before we get into that, here’s a quick recap of why my husband is suing Idaho State University.

Imagine if your past 5 years of hard work were suddenly robbed from you…if your entire career and future were abruptly ruined.

That’s what happened to Jun Yu, my husband, who was abruptly forced out of his PhD program without any warning or remediation. The university also denied him the PhD he rightfully earned, as if all the hard work he did for the past 5 years was for nothing.

As the expert report of Dr. Shannon Chavez-Korell noted on page 8:

At the time of dismissal, Mr. Yu was a student in good standing with a cumulative GPA of 3.69, and he had only one pre-doctoral internship to complete prior to receiving his Doctorate in Clinical Psychology. Prior to the May 3, 2013 dismissal letter from ISU, Mr. Yu had never been on probation and had never been informed that he was in danger of being dismissed from the doctoral program.

Additional leading psychologists have concluded ISU violated professional and academic standards (including the author of the ethics textbook ISU used to train him); meanwhile ISU has no psychology experts supporting their case. You can learn more about the psychology experts supporting Jun at the Jun Yu versus Idaho State University fact sheet.

Despite the mounting evidence that they have committed serious violations of the law and professional standards, ISU has continued to deny doing anything wrong and attempted to avoid any accountability. This has been the case ever since filing the lawsuit in September 2015.

So one great piece of news to share is this — we have defeated ISU’s efforts to have the case thrown out and a trial date has been set for November 13, 2018.

Meanwhile, we are even more confident about the case since we obtained strong evidence that shows ISU discriminated against Jun.

You may recall that last year, the judge ordered ISU to hand over student records. Those court-ordered documents revealed that, in at least 6 major areas, ISU treated Jun in a discriminatory manner compared to similarly situated students. That includes the fact that, while Jun was never warned he was or would be at risk of dismissal (and was ultimately dismissed), 7 other students in the ISU program were explicitly warned (sometimes multiple times) that they were or would be at risk of dismissal (and none of these students were dismissed).

You can view the evidence for yourself on the public record. However, this table is an excellent overview of the findings:Jun Yu v Idaho State University

If you would like to explore the case in further detail, you’re welcome to take a look at the Jun Yu versus Idaho State University fact sheet to learn more. Additionally, legal geeks or anyone curious about the details can visit Jun Yu v. Idaho State University Federal Lawsuit – Public Documents.

Thank you always for your support, which has helped enable our fight for justice and helped us achieve these small victories. We will continue to fight until justice prevails.

P.S.: Generosity — the platform we’ve used for online fundraising — will close its doors on March 29, 2018, the last date where we can still accept financial support through the website. If you or someone you know would like to support us financially through Generosity, you’re welcome to do so in these last few days. Thank you!

Featured on AsAm News: Discrimination Complaint by Asian American Student against Idaho State University Moves Forward

Last year, AsAm News, a website devoted to documenting the Asian American experience, published one of the best stories about my husband’s discrimination lawsuit. I’m excited that AsAm News has once again provided some fine coverage on Jun Yu’s case with a story titled Discrimination Complaint by Asian American Student against Idaho State University Moves Forward.

Here’s an excerpt from the article:

The Federal Court in the District of Idaho has handed an Asian American student a legal victory in his discrimination lawsuit against Idaho State University.

The court approved a motion by attorneys for defendant Jun Yu to expand his complaint from three to 18 counts of wrongdoing….

Among the new counts is that the University denied Yu his [substantive] due process rights when it removed him from the doctorate program in clinical psychology in 2013.

Coulter said Yu’s dismissal from the program “was arbitrary and capricious as well as a substantial departure from accepted academic norm.”

Head on over to AsAm News to read the full piece. And if you love it, share it!

Two Legal Victories in Jun Yu’s Case Against Idaho State University

Good news to share! We’ve just learned of two significant victories in my husband Jun Yu’s discrimination case against Idaho State University.

#1: The Court granted Jun Yu’s motion to amend his present complaint; the newly amended complaint now has 18 counts against ISU

Last year, after doing research and reading the expert reports, our lawyers determined Jun’s case was much stronger than the initial complaint (and its 3 counts) reflected. However, since the Court’s set deadline for amending complaints had passed, in April 2016 we filed a motion to amend the complaint (meaning, we were asking the Court’s permission to amend), which ISU opposed.

This Court decision, allowing us to amend the complaint, strengthens Jun’s case. The newly amended complaint now has 18 counts of wrongdoing against the university — six times what we initially had — and truly reflects the egregious harm ISU inflicted upon Jun.

It also means we’ve just added some very significant counts to the case.

One of the most important counts is number four, the denial of substantive due process rights. This count was supported by the reports from Jun’s leading experts in ethics, cultural competence, and aversive racism, who have all concluded that ISU’s actions towards him were “a substantial departure from accepted academic norms.” Why does this matter? Because the Supreme Court ruled (See Regents of University of Michigan v. Ewing) that universities cannot substantially depart from accepted academic norms in their judgments regarding students.

The opinions of Jun’s experts are significant. It is the rare case where a plaintiff presented expert witnesses who belong to faculties to conclude that an academic institution behaved in an arbitrary and capricious manner that was a substantial departure from accepted academic norms.

Besides the denial of substantive due process, we’ve also added in a number of breach of contract counts. A notable one is count number seven, Failure to Adhere to the Code of Ethics of the American Psychological Association (APA) (as per Idaho licensing law). This count comes from the conclusions of our leading experts in psychology, including one of the most renowned authorities on ethics in psychology, who determined ISU violated a number of APA Ethical standards in their treatment towards Jun Yu. (You can read the full reports detailing APA Ethics violations here and here). That’s how serious this is; leaders in the psychology field are standing up to condemn the behavior of ISU.

If you’re a legal geek or just curious, you’re welcome to read the Court’s full decision and the amended complaint. I also encourage anyone who wants to understand the strength of Jun’s case to read the full expert reports on the record: ethics, cultural competence, and aversive racism

#2: The Court granted Jun Yu’s request to obtain the records of all students who were pursuing doctorate degrees in Clinical Psychology between 2008 and 2015 at Idaho State University.

ISU was trying to withhold valuable information from us — information that could potentially reveal discriminatory treatment.

Initially, our lawyer had requested these student records to prove discrimination occurred. Because ISU denied the request, in March 2016 our lawyer filed a motion to compel the university to produce the student records, which ISU also opposed.

Finally, the Court says ISU must hand over the records:

The Court finds the records requested by Plaintiff are relevant to his claim of discrimination based on national origin and his allegations at this stage in the proceedings are sufficient to warrant production of these materials. Plaintiff’s need for these records sufficiently outweigh the students’ privacy interest…

This is great news. Again, for the legal geeks out there, you can read the full Court decision here. You can also browse all the public documents in Jun Yu versus Idaho State University.

So, what’s next in the case?

There’s still another pending motion before the Court, a motion for summary judgment that was filed by ISU back in September 2016. Before the case even gets assigned a trial date, we need to overcome summary judgment. It’s one of the most critical hurdles for a civil suit.

We already believed we could overcome summary judgment last year. We feel more confident after these decisions from the Court — particularly the Court’s decision granting us the leave to file an amended complaint, adding many critical counts to the lawsuit.

There’s still much to do before a trial would happen, including sorting through seven years worth of student records from ISU (which could end up costing a lot of time and money). That’s why your support, in whatever form you can provide, is so important.

Here’s how you can help:

  1. Your donations can help fund the legal costs associated with the lawsuit. Every donation counts and no amount is too small. You can donate through Generosity, as well as Paypal ([email protected]) and WeChat (diziguijiaoyu).
  2. Share our story with people you know and ask for their support.
  3. Write about what happened to Jun Yu. (You can find all the public documents in the case right here.)

Thank you so much for your continued support and interest in the case! We will keep you posted!

Giving Thanks to You on #GivingTuesday

img_20160902_1949261On this #GivingTuesday, I’d like to take a moment to give thanks to you, the people who have supported me and Jun during this very difficult year.

As most of you already know, my husband and I have been fighting against academic injustice for over three years. Since September 2015, our fight continued in the US Federal Court system.

This has been one of the hardest years in my entire life. There is so much stress and trauma that comes from fighting a lawsuit, but it’s even harder when money is a constant challenge. Thanks to the support of you — as well as close family and friends — we have made it through most of the legal process.

When I look back, I think to myself, what a miracle. When we needed help, people stood up and surrounded us to say, “I care.”

Of course, the lawsuit is still not over — which means our money challenges aren’t over either.  But, knowing you are behind us, we strongly believe that justice will prevail and we will make it through.

Thank you so much for being there. You’ve already given us the best Christmas present we ever could have hoped for.

Shop Amazon? Your Holiday Purchases Could Help #JusticeForJun

Will you be shopping Amazon for the holidays? Your holiday purchases could help benefit #JusticeForJun (my husband is currently fighting against academic injustice) with every order, at no cost to you.

As I posted before, I’m an Amazon affiliate. That means whenever you make purchases at Amazon through a link on my site, Amazon gives us a percentage back. It’s like having Amazon donate to us every time you shop.

How to do it? It’s simple. See this photo I placed in the sidebar:img_20160901_shopamazonsmall

Underneath that photo I’ve posted links to Amazon stores in the USA, Canada, UK and Germany.shop-amazon-help-screenshot

Just make sure you click through one of those links whenever you shop there, and your purchase will help support us.

I’ve also listed my Amazon affiliate links here for your convenience – feel free to bookmark them and use them whenever you shop Amazon:

Don’t see your Amazon store here? Please let me know and I’ll be happy to make a link for your local store, so you can help support the cause whenever you shop.

Wishing you a happy holiday season – and thank you for supporting our cause with your Amazon purchases!

What It Means to Support Your Husband’s Discrimination Lawsuit

My husband Jun Yu and I have been fighting an important US Federal Court lawsuit that involves discrimination (and more). We strongly believe that justice will eventually prevail.

But there’s a human side to a US lawsuit. It’s inevitable that a huge US Federal Court case will ultimately affect you in countless ways, changing your life.

For a long time, I’ve struggled with how to exactly put this into words. But then I started thinking about a lot of the different experiences I’ve had in this past year related to the case. I started by writing a few things, and before I knew it I had a whole list.

So if you’ve ever wondered what it means to support your husband’s discrimination lawsuit, here’s a sampling of what it’s like:

img_20160726_101028It means buying a suit jacket and black dress at H&M at the last minute because your lawyer insisted you MUST be there at Jun’s deposition to support him. And even though the idea of watching your husband be deposed makes you anxious – and even though you toss and turn the entire night before – you show up the morning of his deposition dressed like this, and pull on your bravest smile.

IMG_20160723_211016It means driving, not flying, together across the US to save on the precious $$$ that this lawsuit is costing you. And as it turns out, you end up doing it during a summer when the nation’s midsection is getting barbecued under a scorching heatwave.

IMG_20160722_090432It also means staying at campgrounds along the way to cut costs as well. In one case, you arrive late and then get caught in a downpour that forces you to spend the night in your car.

Jun Yu's fundraising video_I need your help 2It means spending an inordinate amount of time and energy on the challenge of collecting funds to pay your monthly legal bills. And even starting a crowdfunding campaign. It also means being shocked that your last monthly bill topped $40,000.

img_20161023_174120It means re-reading reports from all the Very Important Experts in the psychology field who support your husband. They’re a reminder that you and your husband have great leaders behind you…leaders who believe this is an important case.

IMG_20160616_143841It means sacrificing your appendix to the cause. (RIP, appendix)

anthonis_van_dyck_088It means that, even though you’re a lapsed Catholic with diverse spiritual beliefs that include Buddhist and Taoist ideas and you still haven’t been to mass in years, you start your mornings praying to St. Jude.

img_20160922_124219It means living a super-frugal existence in an apartment smaller than any hotel room you’ve ever stayed in, because you need to save money for the lawsuit and its associated costs.

img_20160916_081938_hdrIt means learning more about the legal system than you ever expected to know, and impressing family and friends at parties with your understanding of motions, depositions and declarations.

img_20160806_175325_hdrIt means being amazed by the fact that your husband’s case is getting stronger every day – and remembering how far you’ve come from when the injustice first took place.

img_20160728_174338_hdrIt means feeling emotional about the injustice from time to time, and finding solace in a good hug.

img_20160728_193332_hdrIt means discovering who your real friends and supporters are, and feeling your spirits soar whenever someone says to you, “I’m glad you’re fighting this.”

img_20161023_203435It means in the darkest moments, finding ways to remind yourself that you did it all for #JusticeForJun. Like when your friend Sally told you to never forget in your heart what this battle is all about.

img_20160818_203224It means learning to see the silver lining to everything that happened to you and Jun – and believing that this will lead the both of you to something better than you ever imagined.

What do you think?

P.S.: In case you’re new to Jun’s case, you can learn more about it here.

Photo Essay: You’re My Inspiration During The Hard Times

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It’s hard to believe our trip to the US is about to come to a close! We’re hopping a plane back to China this coming Monday, September 19.

As many of you know, we came here because of my husband’s lawsuit (you can learn more about that here). The lawsuit still continues. And I’d be lying if I said it wasn’t hard.

It IS hard.

And when you’re facing hardship, as we are, sometimes you’re running low on inspiration. Sometimes you need to find ways to recharge and reconnect with everything that’s good and right and beautiful in this world.

That’s why I’m so grateful to you. It’s people like you that have inspired me and motivated me in the hard times.

This photo essay is dedicated to all of the people — even those not present in the photos I’ve shared below — who have stood by us with support, encouragement and warm smiles.

Thank you for being there for us.

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Hugs from my friend Judy in Idaho.

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Hanging out with my fabulous sister Sue and my niece.

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Meeting up with my husband’s dear colleague Susanne.

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At home with my loving stepmom and dad, who have been among our greatest supporters.

 

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Dinner with Cheryl and Donna, two of our amazing supporters in Idaho.

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Out and about with my Uncle Roy (yes, Uncle Roy, the chi is balanced and life is good).

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Meeting with Susan Blumberg-Kason and her kids in Chicago’s Chinatown.

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My dear Uncle Robert and Aunt Dolly, who graciously invited us out to Tommy’s, a vegetarian restaurant in Cleveland that I’ve missed for years.

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Stopping at the Root Cafe in Lakewood, Ohio with Jillian, who really cheered me up over a tasty lemon almond vegan muffin.

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My friend Kathryn, who is a librarian extraordinaire in Idaho and one of the few people I’ve met who has dared to learn Chinese.

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An unexpected birthday party in Idaho with my friends Judy, Donna and Janice (with a birthday balloon)! They even remembered my favorite tea is mint.

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Scott and Jan, who charmed us with their smiles and laughter over a generous lunch that was their treat (thank you for that).

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An unforgettable evening filled with good conversation, lots of empathy and great Asian food with Gail, a longtime friend of the family.

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Meeting with my dear friend and writing/business mentor Bill Doll, who has been an incredible supporter.

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Enjoying the goldenrod at its peak with the one guy who inspires me everyday — thank you, Jun Yu.

I’ll be taking a break from blogging next week. Wishing you all a happy Mid-Autumn Festival!