Rachel Dolezal isn't just a white woman who presents herself as black—she's a white woman who accused a largely black university of discriminating against her because she's a white woman. Dolezal, 37, who today stepped down as head of NAACP's Spokane chapter, sued Howard University in 2002 for allegedly discriminating against her and denying her teaching posts, the Smoking Gun reports. Her suit "claimed discrimination based on race, pregnancy, family responsibilities and gender," says a Court of Appeals opinion. In the suit, Dolezal alleged that Professor Alfred Smith, then chairman of the school's art department, denied her scholarship aid and blocked her path to obtaining two teaching positions.
Dolezal also claimed that Howard University was "motivated by a discriminatory purpose to favor African-American students over" her when it took down some of her artworks at a student exhibition in 2001. Her suit added that the school was "permeated with discriminatory intimidation, ridicule, and insult," the court opinion says. But a judge dismissed the complaint in 2004, saying Dolezal had provided no proof of discrimination, and the DC Court of Appeals agreed. In fact, Dolezal was ordered to pay Howard University $1,000 during the case—over an "obstructive and vexatious" attempt to delay her visit to an independent doctor—and $2,728.50 afterward for the school's "Bill of Costs." (Dolezal's brother says she became black after facing discrimination as a white person at Howard.)