A former City Colleges of Chicago dean filed a lawsuit Tuesday claiming he was wrongfully terminated for complaining about decaying bodies stored in an unrefrigerated safe in a science lab at Malcolm X College.
Dr. Micah Young, the former Dean of Health Sciences & Career Programs at Malcolm X College, filed the wrongful-termination lawsuit Tuesday in Cook County Circuit Court against the City Colleges of Chicago and the Board of Trustees Community College District No. 58.
Young claims that he was told by faculty members that there were unidentified decomposing bodies stored in cardboard boxes somewhere at the college, according to the suit.
In June 2014, Young informed the school’s president, Dr. Anthony E. Munroe, about the bodies. Munroe contacted the school’s building engineers to find out where the bodies were stored, and an engineer told him there were four bodies storied in an unrefrigerated walk-in safe in the James Craig Lab.
According to the suit, the Anatomical Gift Association of Illinois will not accept and properly dispose of the cadavers because they are unidentified. The association was also unable to identify any cadavers provided to the college that were missing or unidentified.
Young told Munroe that the storage of cadavers in a safe with an air vent violated numerous health and safety regulations, according to the suit.
He further told Munroe that “countless employees, students and other visitors to Malcolm X College have been and are continued to be exposed, through the air vents, to bacteria and germs from decaying human bodies,” according to the suit.
He also complained that not only is it a health concern, “it is a willful disrespect and utter indifference for human decency.”
According to the suit, Young discovered that the bodies had been in the college since 2003. He then found that there are eight more bodies being stored improperly at eight other city colleges, including at Harold Washington College.
On Jan. 28, Young was interviewed by an investigator from the city college’s Office of the Inspector General. Young told the investigator everything he had discovered and all of the complaints he had made to his supervisor, and a week later, on Feb. 4, he was fired, according to the suit.
Young claims in the suit that he had never received any negative comments about his performance from the college.
The three-count suit claims common law retaliatory discharge, violation of the Illinois whistleblower act, and wrongful termination and seeks an unspecified amount in damages.
A spokeswoman for the City Colleges of Chicago declined to comment on pending litigation.