Professor Sues UNC Chapel Hill for Gender Discrimination

November 13, 2017

A longtime associate professor of geography is suing the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill for gender discrimination and retaliation for expressing concern about the climate for women and minorities on campus, according to The Herald-Sun. Altha Cravey says she was denied promotion to full professor, first in 2005 and again in 2015, while male colleagues with equal or lesser qualifications were promoted. The second denial came a year after she told a university ombudsman that the geography department had no female full professors and that the senior faculty seemed unsympathetic to her feminist-oriented research agenda, the lawsuit says.

While male peers are regularly assigned teaching assistants, Cravey says, she has been assigned one just three times in 23 years. She also was removed as head of a departmental diversity committee after her chair expressed concern that she was encouraging graduate students to complain about perceived inequalities within the department, according to the complaint. Cravey is a frequent critic of the university’s administration, publishing op-eds and attending rallies, she says. Only one woman has ever been promoted to full professor in the department’s more than 100-year history, according to the suit. The Equal Opportunity Commission issued Cravey a right-to-sue letter in 2016 after reviewing her case, The Herald-Sun reported. A university spokesperson declined comment on the case. Cravey is seeking retroactive compensation, damages and legal fees.

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