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Jury Awards $1.25 Million to Former Columbia Prof After Bias Case

Jury Awards $1.25 Million to Former Columbia Prof After Bias Case

“should send a clear message to Columbia University and the world of higher education”

The professor claimed one of her colleagues was trying to sabotage her through a negative email campaign.

Bloomberg News reports:

Columbia Bias Case Ends in $1.3 Million Payout to Professor

A jury awarded $1.25 million to a former Columbia University finance professor whose senior colleague sent dozens of emails disparaging her to industry professionals after she lodged a harassment complaint against him.

The verdict is a fraction of the $16 million Enrichetta Ravina sought as her bias and retaliation lawsuit went to the jury in Manhattan federal court. Still, her lawyer welcomed the award.

“The $1.25 million in damages in this case should send a clear message to Columbia University and the world of higher education that workplace retaliation and abuse of power in academia will not be tolerated,” David Sanford said.

The jury ordered the payment a day after it concluded that Business School professor Geert Bekaert retaliated against Ravina, 42, and held Columbia responsible for his actions. The jury of four men and four women on Friday ordered Columbia and Bekaert to pay a total $750,000 in compensatory damages and ordered Bekaert to pay $500,000 in punitive damages.

Ravina sued for gender discrimination and retaliation, claiming he sexually harassed her and then stalled her research and ruined her chances of gaining tenure because she complained. The jury rejected her claim of discrimination against Bekaert and Columbia.

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Abuse of non-tenured faculty in HE? Happens frequently, usually a result of jealousy owing to success. Yeah, yeah, trying to undermine a colleagues R&D, being uncooperative while feigning collegiality, tampering, harassing grad students for information and materials, sharing your IP to secretly develop your programs with others, direct and indirect threats to derail tenure and promotion, trying to derail career by undermining reputation with peers. Been there, had it done to me, became very ill (also due to environmental considerations), left, and immediately about doubled my salary. Now looking for an industrial R&D position. On another note: we had some form of mediation in which the phrase “why should you be so successful, you have not been here long” among others.

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