Laura Frederico, a former senior-level public relations official at Rutgers who was fired last year, is suing the university, claiming that Dean Jacquelyn Litt discriminated against her because she’s a lesbian.
Frederico told a New Jersey Press reporter that Dean, a women’s studies scholar, “felt that women who had men behind them were stronger and better employees.” She had been hired by the university to write articles and materials promoting the women’s college.
Litt’s biography on the university website claims that she “has been responsible for establishing practices to promote gender equity in science, technology, engineering and mathematics, as well as developing university programs for women in senior faculty positions.” Despite that, according to Frederico’s complaint, Litt “did not respect lesbians,” and previous lesbians in her employ had been forced to resign or transfer because of her discriminatory behavior.
The lawsuit also asserts that “[t]he fact that plaintiff was a lesbian was not a secret and, in fact, plaintiff kept a picture of her wife on her desk.” Rutgers acknowledges that Dean Litt knew of Frederico’s sexual orientation, but denies that it played any role in her firing, saying only that her writing “required substantial revisions, changes or reworking.”
This is the second scandal involving a member of the LGBT community to rock Rutgers in recent months. Last April, basketball coach Mike Rice was fired when ESPN’s Outside the Lines aired video of him physically abusing players while shouting gay slurs.
Scott Eric Kaufman is the proprietor of the AV Club's Internet Film School and, in addition to Raw Story, also writes for Lawyers, Guns & Money. He earned a Ph.D. in English Literature from the University of California, Irvine in 2008.
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