Woman Brings Discrimination Claim Against Carnegie Mellon University

September 11, 2006 (PLANSPONSOR.com) - A former research scientist at Carnegie Mellon University filed a discrimination suit in federal court against the university, claiming she was denied promotions because she was an American-born white woman.

According to the university’s newspaper, the Tartan Online, the suit by Joann Paul, who was hired in the university’s electrical and computer engineering (ECE) department in 1997, brings allegations against the dean of the Carnegie Institute of Technology (CIT) and the acting department head of the ECE department.

The complaint by Paul reaches back to her hiring nearly a decade ago, at which point she alleges that a faculty member made a “demeaning gender-oriented comment about [Paul’s] prospects at CMU.” She claims that after she reported the comment, she was shunned by her colleagues and left out of meetings with potential research sponsors, according to the suit, the paper reported.

Although she was promoted in 2000 to a non-tenured faculty position as a research scientist, she claims that she was given no support by the dean of the CIT on getting research grants, according to the newspaper. However, Paul claims, the head of the department promoted and funded the research of other faculty.

The suit further alleges that dean “was known to harbor misogynous views and known to treat females, all of US origin, in a demeaning and dismissive fashion,” according to the publication.

Paul also alleges that the department head of ECE twice discouraged her from seeking a promotion. One time he urged her to withdraw her application for a promotion as an associate research professor and withheld a late recommendation written in Paul’s favor.

Paul has since left the university to take a position on the faculty at Virginia Tech.