Archive for Friday, December 17, 1999

PAY ASSESSMENT DRAWS CRITICISM

December 17, 1999

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Women, minorities may spend more time waiting for promotions at KU, two faculty members say.

A Kansas University professor says a study of pay equity at the school whitewashes the real employment situation for women and minorities at KU.

"I suspect there is a very good chance of it being a whitewash," said Ray Pierotti, associate professor of environmental studies.

Pierotti and his wife, Cynthia Annett, have filed a lawsuit against KU alleging gender and racial discrimination.

Annett alleges she was discriminated against because of her gender when she was denied tenure and promotion. Pierotti, who is American Indian, alleges racial discrimination.

"This is going to overlook that women are being turned down for tenure at KU at a much higher rate than men," Pierotti said of the study, which was formally presented to the Kansas Board of Regents Thursday.

The statistical study, first made public last week, said neither age, race, ethnicity nor gender could explain differences in pay among KU faculty. According to the study, differences that exist can be attributed to faculty rank, the school within which a faculty member is employed, and honors or awards a faculty member has earned.

Pierotti said the study examined pay for current faculty but did not examine how long women spend in the three faculty ranks of assistant, associate and full professor before promotion.

"And a lot of women are being hired for lecturer positions," he said.

Lecturer is not a tenure-track position at KU.

Education Professor Susan Twombly, who heads the Equity Study Committee working with the university administration on the study, agrees the promotion question needs further examination.

"I do think there is an issue about promotion," Twombly said. "... My guess is there could be a problem."

Provost David Shulenburger said "it's impossible to include everything" in a study intended only to reveal systematic discrimination at KU.

Twombly's committee will undertake a survey of minority and women faculty, he said. That survey will be sent out at the end of January.

"We intend to follow up on anything that survey shows to be a problem," Shulenburger said.

Chancellor Robert Hemenway agreed the study was only the first step.

"Even if you find there is no systematic discrimination, you have to make sure there is no individual discrimination," Hemenway said.

-- Erwin Seba's phone message number is 832-7145. His e-mail address is eseba@ljworld.com.

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