Former MSUM professor sues university for age discrimination
MINNEAPOLIS - A former Minnesota State University Moorhead professor is suing the university, alleging university officials denied her a new professorship in the Women's and Gender Studies program based on her age, instead giving it to what the l...
MINNEAPOLIS – A former Minnesota State University Moorhead professor is suing the university, alleging university officials denied her a new professorship in the Women's and Gender Studies program based on her age, instead giving it to what the lawsuit claims was a younger, less qualified candidate.
Claudia Murphy's attorney, Peter G. Christian, said in a news release that his 63-year-old client filed the lawsuit Wednesday in Ramsey County District Court. It claims that Randy Cagle, MSUM dean of humanities and social sciences, deliberately created criteria for the new job that would exclude her and other older candidates because it required them to have their Ph.D. in a program that wasn't offered until 1995.
"It is simply not credible that MSUM would require such a degree for any reason other than to exclude older applicants and hire a younger candidate," said Christian, from the Minneapolis law firm Schaefer Halleen LLC. " We intend to show that the practice was age discrimination prohibited by Minnesota law."
Murphy was then ousted from the department when Cagle didn't renew her contract for the 2015-16 school year, Christian said in the release.
The complaint also alleges Cagle insisted on including that requirement for the position over the protests of the search committee. It also alleges that Cagle excluded Murphy from consideration in ignoring the recommendations of the committee and not granting her an interview for the position despite Murphy being the first person the search committee contacted.
The complaint states that university officials, including the Human Resources Department and MSUM President Dr. Anne Blackhurst, failed to intervene after Murphy reported her concerns about being excluded from consideration for the professorship.
The university ultimately hired a 30-year-old, less qualified professor for the job, who received her doctorate in 2015, Christian said in the release.
MSUM spokesman David Wahlberg said in a statement that while the university does not comment on specific aspects of pending litigation, it has high standards for all faculty, staff and administrators, and sets hiring qualifications that reflect those expectations.
Murphy was a professor in the Women's and Gender Studies program at MSUM since January 2009.