Posted December 18th, 2019.
Rachel Leingang, Arizona Republic
The University of Arizona paid $100,000 to settle a gender discrimination lawsuit with one of its professors, the university and the woman who sued announced.
It’s the second lawsuit the university settled this year related to unequal pay for female professors.
Dr. Katrina Miranda, a tenured associate professor in the school’s Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry, claimed in a lawsuit filed in U.S. District Court in November 2018 that there’s a pattern of systematic discrimination against female faculty members in UA’s College of Science.
In a joint statement from the regents and Miranda Tuesday, she said she filed the lawsuit to “highlight the importance of gender equity in the sciences and both parties reaffirm the continuing importance of this issue.”
“The University recognizes the Plaintiff’s contributions to her discipline and the College of Science and wishes her well as she continues her academic pursuits at the University,” the statement said.
The previous settlement involved three former deans. The Arizona Board of Regents, which oversees the three state universities, paid $190,000 to the plaintiffs for that settlement.
In Miranda’s lawsuit, which sought class-action status, she asked for back pay, front pay, damages and attorneys’ fees on behalf of herself and any others who could be included in the class action. The class could have included as many as 80 current and former female professors in the College of Science, according to the lawsuit.
Miranda’s lawsuit said, despite positive performance reviews and recognition for her work and service to the university, she was underpaid and denied promotions.
“Dr. Miranda’s experiences are emblematic of these prevailing patterns and trends at the college. Despite her remarkable credentials and achievements, her pay has languished at inordinately low levels for years, and she has been denied a long-earned promotion to (full) professor,” the lawsuit claimed.
The lawsuit estimates Miranda was underpaid by $9,000 to $36,000 per year from 2016 to 2018 compared with male professors of “similar or lesser seniority and performance.”
Miranda was paid about $100,000 for the 2017-18 academic year, while a male chemistry professor made $130,500 despite joining the university and getting tenure the same year as Miranda, the lawsuit claims.
Another male chemistry professor with one more year of experience than Miranda made more than $136,000, according to the court filing.
In addition, to pay disparity, Miranda claimed that female professors were “subjected to humiliating and demeaning treatment” by male leaders and don’t have equal access to resources including research assistants and mentoring opportunities.