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Professor claims discrimination
by School of Management

A Yale School of Management professor is suing the university for gender and age discrimination, claiming that SOM decided not to renew her appointment "in decisions tainted by sexual bias and retaliation."

Constance Bagley, a Professor in the Practice of Law and Management who was recruited from the Harvard Business School faculty in 2008, "became the object of gender stereotyping" at Yale, says the suit, filed in US District Court in Connecticut last month.

Despite a record of excellence in teaching and scholarship at SOM, Bagley "didn’t fit the Yale vision of the young male SOM professor, or the more passive subordinate female professor who would bend to their will," the suit alleges. "Professor Bagley had the temerity to challenge gender biased decisionmaking and challenge the dominant, older male leadership."

A university spokesman says the suit has no merit and that Bagley's "age and gender were irrelevant" to Yale's decision not to reappoint her.

According to Bagley's complaint, a committee chaired by management professor Paul Bracken unanimously recommended renewing her appointment. But after Bagley requested tenure, applied for a named professorship, and requested a ten-year renewal of her position, an SOM faculty group known as the Board of Permanent Officers recommended against renewal—a recommendation that SOM Dean Ted Snyder endorsed in May 2012.

"Professor Bagley had never been advised of any deficiencies in her teaching, scholarship, or commitment to Yale before the vote," the complaint alleges. "Indeed, Dean Snyder had told her on May 7, 2012 that the review of her work was 'positive.'"

Bagley then filed a formal discrimination complaint with Yale. Then-provost Peter Salovey ’86PhD (now the university president) appointed a new committee, which concluded that "SOM had violated promises made to induce Professor Bagley to accept Yale SOM’s offer of employment—particularly with respect to the standards by which she would be evaluated for renewal to review the decision," the complaint says.

That group, known as the Harte committee, "further found that Professor Bagley had been subjected to a hostile environment at Yale SOM and that there had been 'inappropriate comments and behaviors based on gender,' 'a chilly environment for women' in contexts involving Professor Bagley, and comments made to the Committee during interviews characterizing her 'in a manner that may be deemed offensive to women,'" according to the suit.

Bagley contends that SOM professor Douglas Rae, with whom she co-developed and co-taught a core course called State and Society, devalued her work, defamed her, and eventually had her replaced as his co-teacher—after which Dean Snyder told Bagley that she wasn't being reappointed because there were "no courses for [her] to teach."

In an e-mail, Yale spokesman Tom Conroy says: "Yale believes the lawsuit to be without merit, and will vigorously defend itself and the individuals named. The decision by the School of Management not to renew Professor Bagley's appointment as Professor in the Practice was made following comprehensive review. Professor Bagley's age and gender were irrelevant to the decision. As Dean Snyder has stated, SOM has exceptional women on its faculty, and he is committed to increasing the number of women and adding to the faculty's diversity."

Asked about the suit's contention that "more than 90 percent of the tenured faculty at Yale SOM are male, and not a single woman has been granted tenure at Yale SOM since 2002," Conroy responds that "the Yale Corporation approved tenure for a woman SOM professor in December." (That appointment has not yet been announced publicly, and Conroy declines to name the professor.) Without disputing the 90 percent figure for tenured professor, Conroy notes that 20 percent of SOM's "full-time tenured, tenure-track and full-time lecturers" are women.

In addition, Conroy notes, "SOM has hired half a dozen female faculty since the beginning of the 2012-13 academic year, including assistant professors."

Neither Conroy nor Bagley's attorney, Laura Studen of Boston, agreed to provide copies of the Bracken or Harte committee reports.

Filed under School of Management, Constance Bagley, discrimination
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