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Princeton Agrees To Nearly $1M In Back Pay To Female Professors : NPR

Blair Hall on the campus of Princeton University. The university has agreed to pay nearly $1 million in back pay to female full professors, but did not admit liability in the Labor Department’s investigation.

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Blair Hall on the campus of Princeton University. The university has agreed to pay nearly $1 million in back pay to female full professors, but did not admit liability in the Labor Department’s investigation.

John Greim/LightRocket via Getty Images

One of the nation’s most prestigious universities has agreed to pay nearly $1 million in back pay to female professors following allegations of pay discrimination.

The Ivy League university will pay $925,000 in back pay and at least $250,000 in future wages, as part of an agreement announced by the U.S. Department of Labor.

The agreement resolves pay disparities uncovered by a multi-year investigation that affected more than 100 female full professors, the Labor Department’s Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs said.

The federal government’s investigation found between 2012 and 2014, pay disparities at the university “existed for 106 female employees in the full professor position,” the Labor Department said.

If confirmed, those findings would appear to violate federal equal opportunity laws.

The New Jersey-based university entered what is known as an “early resolution conciliation agreement.” A university spokesperson said in an e-mailed statement to NPR that it accepted the agreement to forgo what would likely be a costly and drawn out litigation process.

Princeton did not admit any liability in the investigation, Ben Chang, a spokesperson from Princeton, said in an emailed statement. He said that university officials did an internal analysis during the two year period the Labor Department says it was in violation, but found “no meaningful pay disparities based on gender.”

“The University contested the OFCCP’s allegation because it was based on a flawed statistical model that grouped all full professors together regardless of department and thus bore no resemblance to how the University actually hires, evaluates, and compensates its faculty,” he said.

Chang said the Labor Department began its review of Princeton almost a decade ago.

The university was notified that the government “was closing the review with no finding of discrimination,” according to Chang, but he added that the OFCCP took up the review again for what he described as “unexplained reasons.”

Princeton University will pay $925,000 in back pay and at least $250,000 in future wages as part of an agreement announced by the U.S. Department of Labor.

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Princeton University will pay $925,000 in back pay and at least $250,000 in future wages as part of an agreement announced by the U.S. Department of Labor.

Daryl Solomon/Getty Images

As part of the agreement, Princeton is also going to “enhance future compliance proactively,” according to the Labor Department, including conducting pay equity trainings and statistical analyses to see if disparities exist now.

“The Office of Federal Contract

Florida State University must pay ex-student leader in ouster for religious views, judge says

A federal judge has ruled that Florida State University must pay the salary of a former campus Senate president who was ousted over his religious views.

U.S. District Judge Allen Winsor last week ordered FSU to make “prospective payment” for lost wages to former Student Senate President Jack Denton, a senior and political science major who was voted out by his colleagues in June over text messages he exchanged with other Catholic students.

Judge Winsor, a Trump appointee, said the university, which administers the student government, had violated Mr. Denton’s First Amendment rights by failing to protect him against retaliation for his protected speech and should resume paying his stipend until his term’s expiration in November.

“To state the obvious, expressing one’s religious views is a constitutionally protected activity. And being removed from a student Senate presidency, as Denton was, would chill someone from expressing himself,” the judge wrote in his 25-page preliminary ruling in the closely watched religious liberty case.

Judge Winsor compared Mr. Denton’s ouster to the Georgia state legislature refusing to seat newly elected lawmaker Julian Bond in 1966 over his criticism of the Vietnam War. A unanimous U.S. Supreme Court ruled the legislature’s move unconstitutional.

“All students should be able to peacefully share their personal connections without fear of retaliation,” said Tyson Langhofer, an attorney with the nonprofit advocacy group Alliance Defending Freedom who is representing Mr. Denton.

An FSU spokesperson wrote in email that school officials are reviewing the decision and “considering the university’s options.” An attorney for the Student Senate defendants did not respond to request for comment.

FSU pays the Student Senate president $9 an hour. Mr. Denton told the court that he estimated working six hours a week until the end of his term on Nov. 11. He is to be paid about $216.

The campus Senate removed Mr. Denton in a 38-3 vote in June after critical remarks he had made about the American Civil Liberties Union and Black Lives Matter came to light.

In a group text message with Catholic Student Union students about the death of George Floyd in police custody in Minneapolis, Mr. Denton discouraged others from donating from donating to the ACLU for its support of legal abortion and Black Live Matters for its “queer-affirming” stance. He said those groups — and a Minneapolis organization that promotes defunding law enforcement — promote “grave evils.”

When screen shots of the conversation were made public, the Student Senate began proceedings against Mr. Denton that led to a no-confidence vote against him. One unnamed student senator remarked that she could “think of no more abhorrent thing to hear coming from our Senate leadership,” according to court filings.

In his order, Judge Winsor declined to reinstate Mr. Denton, saying such a move could “produce tumult and chaos.” But the judge belittled the student senators’ reaction, writing that the Senate was “beside itself” over the plaintiff’s “expression of Catholic views.”

FSU attorneys had asked that Mr. Denton’s lawsuit be dismissed, saying his