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July 31. 2014 9:42PM

Judge says former UNH professor was not discriminated against

A judge has ruled that a former University of New Hampshire professor was not discriminated against for her gender or race when the school fired her in 2012.

In a decision filed on July 29, Judge Landya McCafferty ruled that Dr. Roslyn Chavda could not provide significant evidence to her claims that she was subjected to a hostile work environment because she was black and a mother.

Chavda also claimed she was retaliated against for criticizing aspects of the Master of Public Administration program. The retaliation, Chavda claimed, came in the form of obstacles to requirements for tenure.

Chavda believed professors in the department were not informing her of opportunities to participate in peer-reviewed research projects. A professor’s collection of peer-reviewed research and student evaluations are two factors used to determine whether a professor’s contract will be renewed for the following school year.

According to McCafferty’s ruling, Chavda stated there was no verbal indications of racial discrimination.

UNH said Chavda was fired because of poor student evaluations and a “thin” collection of peer-reviewed research.

Chavda was hired as an assistant professor of political science in 2005 and began teaching in the Master of Public Administration program in 2006.

After she began working at UNH, Chavda experienced problems related to her pregnancy. These issues required bed rest and made it difficult to teach. Chavda claimed her department head made comments to her about how the department couldn’t complete certain projects because Chavda had experienced those pregnancy complications.

However — according to McCafferty, there was no physical evidence of this incident or any related incidents related to discriminatory actions toward Chavda’s motherhood.

Chavda’s representation, Lawrence Gormley, had no comment on the ruling Thursday.

“The university is a public institution committed to equal employment and educational opportunity for all, and does not discriminate on the basis of race, gender, or any other unlawful basis,” according to Erika Mantz, director of UNH media relations. “We were confident there had been no discrimination shown toward Roslyn Chavda, and are pleased that the court agreed and ruled in our favor.”

abeland@unionleader.com


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