Syracuse University agrees to pay $ 3.7 million to settle lawsuit filed by female faculty members


Syracuse University on Friday agreed to pay $ 3.7 million to settle a class action lawsuit filed by five female faculty members who said the school’s compensation and promotion policies discriminated against women.

SU did not admit any wrongdoing or liability in a proposed settlement of the case filed in the Brooklyn State Supreme Court.

The university said on Friday it had increased the pre-trial salaries of more than 150 female faculty members by nearly $ 2 million since it conducted a 2017 assessment of full-time faculty salaries.

But the proposed settlement filed in court on Friday would add to that amount. That would mean that most female full-time professors working for much of the past decade might be eligible for higher pay.

In their lawsuit, the five women claimed that SU paid its female faculty members in the ranks of assistant, associate and full professor less than their male counterparts in equivalent positions.

The League also “systematically underestimated female faculty members” and subjected women to promotion standards that undervalued their contributions compared to men, according to the lawsuit.

Audie Klotz, a political science professor at SU’s Maxwell School, said the 2017 faculty salary report revealed inequalities that prompted her and the other four women to file a class action lawsuit.

Klotz told | The Post-Standard in an interview that she hopes the regulations will result in permanent and systemic changes in the way the League treats its female faculty members.

“I can’t wait to see what actions they take to continue to address the current situation,” Klotz said. “I hope people at other universities take note of this as well and validate their concerns.”

Klotz has been a professor at the League since 2003. She declined to discuss details of how she was discriminated against. After 10 years as an associate professor, she was promoted to full professor in 2013, according to her resume online.

The settlement reached on Friday will make female faculty members who have worked full-time at the League for at least one calendar year from January 8, 2014, eligible for compensation.

Women who are tenured or tenured associate professors or full professors will be eligible for settlement payments ranging from $ 1,140 to $ 19,000 per person, depending on the proposed settlement.

Female adjunct and part-time faculty members, as well as League staff, will not be eligible for any payment, the League said in an FAQ posted on the university’s website.

The deal has yet to be approved by the court.

The proposed settlement will set aside $ 1.23 million for attorney fees, or about one-third of SU’s total compensation.

Each of the five women who filed the complaint would also receive individual payments.

The settlement sets aside $ 15,000 each for Klotz; Elisabeth Lasch-Quinn, professor of history at the Maxwell School; and Fiona Chew, former professor at SI Newhouse School of Public Communications.

Tula Goenka, a professor at the Newhouse School, and Barbara Jones, a former professor at Newhouse, would each receive payments of $ 5,000.

A spokesperson for the League declined to respond to specific allegations in the trial.

Steve Bennett, senior vice president of the League, issued a statement in which he said the school is committed to providing a fair and supportive work environment.

“We continue to work closely with academic leadership to ensure that salaries are commensurate with the professional responsibilities, effort and achievements of each faculty member, regardless of gender,” Bennett said.

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