Here’s a tip. If you practice Wicca, maybe don’t take a job at a Catholic university.

Inside Higher Ed reports:

Not Bewitched

St. Bonaventure University didn’t let a professor of communication advance in her career because she’s a woman — and a witch — according to a lawsuit filed last week in a federal court in New York.

The professor, Pauline Hoffmann, says things began to go south between her and her administration around Halloween 2011, after she alerted a university communications officer that student journalists wanted to interview her about her Wiccan beliefs.

In spring 2012, her then provost, Mike Fischer, allegedly told her to sign a “morals” clause vowing to uphold the university’s Roman Catholic values.

Worried she was being singled out on account of her religion, Hoffmann says she asked if she would have to sign the clause if she were Jewish — meaning not Catholic, but not Wiccan. Fischer allegedly told her verbally, “I guess not.”

Fisher also allegedly once said, “You might not want to be so overt about being a witch if you want to move up.”

St. Bonaventure follows the Franciscan Catholic tradition, but many of Hoffmann’s colleagues, and many students, are not Roman Catholic. Indeed, the norm at Catholic colleges and universities is to have many non-Catholic professors.

Hoffmann says she also asked then president Sister Margaret Carney if other employees would have to sign the morals document. Sister Margaret allegedly said it was just for her.

In 2012, Hoffmann became dean of Jandoli School of Communication. She served in that role through 2017 but was first awarded only a two-year contract when all other male deans got three-year contracts, she says. She also believes that she made less money as dean than all other deans on campus, who were male.


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