A federal judge has denied Pitt's motion to dismiss a sex and race discrimination lawsuit against the Johnstown campus (UPJ) and its president.
U.S. District Judge D. Brooks Smith ruled that UPJ's affirmative action program and its affirmative action director, Clea Hollis, "were adversely affected by decisions sanctioned by" campus president Albert Etheridge.
Attorneys for the two sides are scheduled to meet May 24 to agree on a schedule for future action in the case.
Hollis sued UPJ and Etheridge last July, claiming she was harassed, demoted, isolated and excluded from campus events to keep her from doing her job.
According to the lawsuit, filed in U.S. District Court in Pittsburgh, Etheridge publicly gave "lip service" to affirmative action but told Hollis "on numerous occasions that he did not believe in affirmative action and that he would do everything possible to avoid implementing its principles," contrary to Pitt policy.
Etheridge said Pitt attorneys have advised him not to comment on the lawsuit. University spokesperson Ken Service said Pitt's administration believes Hollis has been treated fairly and that neither UPJ nor its administrators has discriminated against her.
Hollis's lawyers likewise have advised her not to comment. One of her attorneys, Robert A. Cohen of Pittsburgh, said only that, "We're pleased with Judge Smith's decision."
– Bruce Steele, via University Times