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October 24, 2004

Discrimination Against White Male Professors in Arizona

It's hardly a secret that in America racial and sexual discrimination is practiced on a massive scale, more overtly (in the North if not the South) than ever in history. But a federal court ruled in July 2004 that Northern Arizona University discriminated against white male professors....

Northern Arizona University violated the civil rights of 40 white male faculty members by giving raises to female and minority professors and not to them, a federal judge in Phoenix ruled last week.

The male faculty members had sued the university and the Arizona Board of Regents in 1995, claiming violation of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which prohibits employers from discriminating on the basis of race or sex. They contended that they had been treated unfairly because members of minority groups at the university had received one-time pay increases that averaged $3,000, and women had received increases averaging $2,400, while the white men had received no raises.

In January 2003, a three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit had found that a 1993 pay-equity plan developed by the university’s former president, Eugene Hughes, had not unnecessarily hampered the rights of professors who did not receive raises. But the judges concluded that a jury should decide whether the raises were higher than necessary to make up for past inequities.

The plaintiffs, on advice from their lawyer, Jess A. Lorona, chose to have a fact-finder review and rule on the matter instead of a jury.

The fact-finder, Senior Judge Robert C. Broomfield of the U.S. District Court in Phoenix, ruled that in awarding the raises, Northern Arizona had failed "to attain a balance" and "went beyond attaining a balance." He noted that university data showed that when experience, rank, discipline, and tenure status were taken into account, male professors at the time made only $750 more per year than females, on average, and white professors only $87 more than members of minority groups. Judge Broomfield also noted that in determining raises, Mr. Hughes had failed to consider doctoral status and performance.


A. Dean Pickett, general counsel for the university, said that in 1994, after Mr. Hughes left the university, a new set of raises, totaling about $700,000, was given to white male professors and female professors. Those raises, he said, made up for any discrepancies. He also noted that the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission determined in 1995 that those raises constituted "full relief" for the alleged discriminatory practice.

The two sides will return to court on July 26 to set a date for a trial that will determine potential damages.

I wonder who could sue universities about the practice of going into the hiring process having decided only to hire women?

Posted by erasmuse at October 24, 2004 09:49 PM

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