Tuesday, May 21, 2002

UC professor claims gender discrimination

By Kristina Goetz kgoetz@enquirer.com
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        A University of Cincinnati economics professor has filed a federal gender discrimination lawsuit against the school and seven individual faculty members in her department.

        Christina Kelton, a tenured associate professor on leave this year, claims in the lawsuit filed last week that colleagues initiated a “campaign of harassment” in 2000 to discredit her candidacy for department head.

        The faculty members named are: Haynes Goddard, Wolfgang Mayer, Sourushe Zandvakili, Debashis Pal, Nicolas Williams, Jeffrey Mills and Harland Whitmore.

        All seven either refused comment Monday or did not return phone calls.

        “It's a lawsuit,” said James Wesner, general counsel for the university. “We got sued. We defend them. We don't agree that she's got the full story or the correct story.”

        The complaint, filed in U.S. District Court on May 15, states that because of the harassment, a selection committee voted to appoint Dr. Goddard to the position of department head instead of Dr. Kelton.

        When Dr. Kelton, who has been with the university since 1996, asked for an explanation, she says she did not receive one.

        Court documents show that Dr. Kelton then went to Joseph Caruso, dean of the College of Arts and Sciences, to complain about the committee's decision, claiming gender considerations.

        The professor also complained that one of Dr. Goddard's graduate students — whom Dr. Kelton had disciplined for violating rules governing the conduct of graduate fellows — was on the selection committee.

        Neither university officials nor Dr. Kelton's attorney, Marc Mezibov, would discuss the details of that discipline.

        According to the complaint, however, after polling the faculty about the legitimacy of the committee's decision, Dean Caruso declared the search “a failure” and appointed an interim acting department head.

        “Dr. Kelton has attempted to resolve this thing by a variety of measures,” Mr. Mezibov said. “She still hopes it can be resolved in the best interest of the department, the university and Dr. Kelton.”


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