In this photo from 2017, Morgan State University' senior Petra Doremand, center, produces online video of the "Today with Dr. Kaye" show with Dr. Kaye Wise Whitehead, right, and in studio guest Pastor Michael Crawford. MSU's School of Global Journalism and Communication, which operates the public radio station WEAA, has changed the station's programming to expand its audience appeal and enhance it's role as a learning lab for MSU students.
In this photo from 2017, Morgan State University' senior Petra Doremand, center, produces online video of the "Today with Dr. Kaye" show with Dr. Kaye Wise Whitehead, right, and in studio guest Pastor Michael Crawford. MSU's School of Global Journalism and Communication, which operates the public radio station WEAA, has changed the station's programming to expand its audience appeal and enhance it's role as a learning lab for MSU students. (Kenneth K. Lam / Baltimore Sun)

A federal judge on Monday dismissed a wrongful termination lawsuit filed in April by Michele Williams, a former director of broadcast operations at public radio station WEAA-FM, against Morgan State University, which holds the Federal Communications Commission license for WEAA, and DeWayne Wickham, dean of the School of Global Journalism and Communication, which operates the station.

In her suit, Williams leveled several charges against Wickham and the university, Including wrongful termination (she was hired in 2014 and fired in 2017) in violation of Maryland public policy, defamation, and retaliation in violation of the National Defense Authorization Act,” according to court documents.

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In granting the motion to dismiss the suit, U.S. District Judge George Russell III pointed to a lack of specifics in Williams’ charge of defamation.

“Here, Williams has not pleaded the dates of any of her defamation allegations, leaving the Defendants and the Court to guess when each of these instances of defamation occurred," Russell wrote. "This omission also frustrates any analysis of the one-year statute of limitations — an analysis especially relevant here, where the Complaint was filed almost a year after Williams was notified of her termination.”

Neither Williams, nor her attorney could be reached for comment.

Wickham instituted a series of major personnel and programming changes at WEAA in 2017 aimed in part, he said, at better serving the educational mission of the university by using the station to train young journalists and broadcasters. The move was controversial at the time. Two years later, it seems mostly successful.

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