Graduate student Simon Ticks, of University of Minnesota Department of Linguistics, is suing a White Hmong village in Northern Thailand for failing to provide the evidence needed for his dissertation project.
Ticks’ claim makes the following argument: Under Title IX, equal opportunity must be extended to any US university student, regardless of gender or subject of study. This implies that local communities must provide support for graduate student research projects; otherwise the state is not fulfilling its educational objectives. Furthermore, since there is a sizable population of White Hmong in several US states, including particularly Minnesota, White Hmong are obligated to help him complete his dissertation, no matter what country’s jurisdiction they happen to be residing in.
Specifically, Ticks alleges that White Hmong, as an SVO Hmongic language, has a customary and usual expectation to provide evidence of grammaticalization of verbs into prepositions. However, the village in which Ticks conducted his fieldwork has a large population of Lahu speakers, and the White Hmong have, under the influence of Lahu, adopted verb-
Without this crucial feature, Ticks charges, his dissertation committee has been unwilling to accept his claims about White Hmong syntax.
Ticks’ lawyer, Klaus Chaning, stated, “My client is simply trying to recoup the future losses in employment income which he would reasonably expect if he were able to complete his dissertation. This amounts to forty-
US Federal Court Judge Anna Forah ruled that Ticks’ suit is legitimate and has referred it to the International Court of Justice in The Hague.