Arizona professor sues Board of Regents in discrimination case

Dec 4, 2018, 11:50 AM | Updated: 11:58 am
Katrina Miranda University of Arizona...
Katrina Miranda (University of Arizona Photo)
(University of Arizona Photo)

PHOENIX – A chemistry professor at the University of Arizona has sued the Arizona Board of Regents claiming discrimination against women.

The lawsuit was filed last week in federal court for associate professor Katrina Miranda by the same firm that sued the regents in another gender-discrimination suit this year. Sanford Heisler Sharp said on its website that Miranda and “other women in her Department” had been denied raises “since at least 2011” at the same time salaries of male colleagues increased.

Miranda said she had been underpaid from $9,000 to $36,000 the past two years, based on what her male colleagues were paid. She learned of the discrepancy because university salaries are public information.

Inside Higher Ed reported that Miranda earned between $97,000 and $100,000 a year between 2015-16 and 2017-18.

Arizona paid a male professor of chemistry $130,500 each of the last two years. The man and Miranda were hired and tenured at the same time.

The statement also said Miranda had been passed over for a promotion in 2016 despite recommendations from her department head and the science college faculty.

Miranda was seeking back pay, front pay and compensatory damages. She has worked at the university since 2002.

This action arises out of the University’s systematic discriminatory treatment of its female professors on the basis of their gender. The University discriminates against female Professors in the College of Science through its policies, practices, and procedures with respect to compensation, in violation of the Equal pay Act of 1963 …”

Court documents also said when Miranda complained about the pay differences, her lab space was cut and she was pulled from teaching a course of her own creation.

The university “stacks the deck against Dr. Miranda and her female peers from the outset of their careers at the institution. They are denied equal access to institutional resources, such as research assistants and professional mentors,” the law firm said.

The regents have also been sued for underpayment by two female deans at the school.

The regents have defended themselves in the past year against suits filed by the Arizona Attorney General’s Office over university tuition increases and an alleged hazing incident at the Tucson school.

The university typically does not comment on litigation against it and had not responded to a request for comment on Wednesday.

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Arizona professor sues Board of Regents in discrimination case