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Former University of Arizona dean joins $2M gender discrimination suit

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PHOENIX — A former University of Arizona dean joined Wednesday a $2 million gender discrimination suit against the state board of regents.

In a press release, law firm Sanford Heisler Sharp said Janice Cervelli — the President of St. Mary’s College in Notre Dame, Indiana and former Dean of the College of Architecture, Planning, and Landscape Architecture at the University of Arizona — also alleged the school underpaid her when compared to her male counterparts.

The suit was first brought against the school in late January by former Honors College Dean Patricia MacCorquodale. She claimed she was underpaid by tens of thousands of dollars compared to her male colleagues for two decades.

“Both of these outstanding female deans experienced significant pay disparities during the same period of employment,” lead attorney David Sanford said in the release. “This is not a coincidence; this is how the University of Arizona discriminates against its female academic leaders.”

Cervelli’s attorneys said she was underpaid by as much as $80,000 per year.

“When she raised issues about this significant compensation gap with four different provosts, her concerns fell on deaf ears,” attorney James E. Richardson said. “She was even denied a raise when there were funds specifically budgeted for this purpose. ”

The suit also alleged that MacCorquodale was replaced by a man who made nearly $70,000 more than she did.

The suit sought a jury trial, an adjustment to the wage rates and benefits plus back pay and other damages for lost compensation.

A regents’ spokeswoman said in January the board doesn’t comment on pending litigation.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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