August 2, 2010
Duquesne Law School Hit With Discrimination Suits
Ugly things are going on at Duquesne University's Law School. The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reports that a former female faculty member, Alice Stewart, has filed suit alleging sexual harassment, gender discrimination, retaliation, and breach of contract. The case started in 2003 when Ms. Stewart and other female faculty were candidates for tenured clinical faculty positions. They were told that the positions required a national search. Ms. Stewart claims that a male professor was given a similar position without such a search. A University compliance officer ruled in favor of Ms. Stewart in 2007 but the University brought in outside counsel to reject the findings. Subsequent allegations include having her job title changed, pay reduction, and moving her office outside the law school building, among others.
Some of the allegations are directed at interim Dean Robert Gormley. She alleges sexual harassment and a hostile work environment to him before he became dean. The Post-Gazette article also notes another federal against Duquesne by another former faculty member, Vanessa Browne-Barbour, who was rejected as interim dean in favor of Gormley. She claims she was rejected because of her race and gender. Also of note, is another suit by a black Duquesne law professor, Kellen McClendon, who alleges that he was denied fair consideration for the law school's deanship in 2004, and was called a "token" by Provost Ralph Pearson. The University doesn't deny the characterization, and it was defended by Duquesne President Charles Dougherty. The context for that comment is described in this story in the Pittsburgh City Paper. Duquesne denies all of the allegations and issued the usual "will vigorously defend" statement in response to the various cases.
Ms. Stewart's complaint is here, courtesy of the ABA Journal article on her suit. A video on the story is available from Pittsburgh station WTAE. An empirical view of Ms. Stewart's teaching (which is not a subject of the issues in the case) on Rate My Professor shows uniformly high ratings from the four ex-students who have commented on her. [MG]
I find it amusing that all the best spats and rows appear to be in Universities;I have seen it many times in Europe when allegations of conduct you would not expect in a factory or farm have been levelled.
Maybe the halls of academe offer to much time to take offense and wallow in self pity?
Posted by: Terry | Aug 2, 2010 12:28:47 PM