Searching over 5,500,000 cases.


searching
Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

NANDA v. BOARD OF TRUSTEES OF THE UNIVERSITY OF ILLINOIS

February 17, 2004.

NAVREET NANDA, Ph.D., Plaintiff,
v.
BOARD OF TRUSTEES OF THE UNIVERSITY OF ILLINOIS, et al., Defendants



The opinion of the court was delivered by: REBECCA PALLMEYER, District Judge

MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER

Plaintiff Navreet Nanda, Ph.D. filed suit against the Board of Trustees of the University of Illinois ("University") and five individual University officials, alleging that they violated her constitutional rights and discriminated against her on the basis of her sex, race, and national origin when they gave her a terminal contract in August 1998, which ultimately led to the end of her employment on the University faculty in August 2000. In her original complaint, Dr. Nanda sought a preliminary injunction to restore her status on the University faculty. She alleged that the University violated Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, 42 U.S.C. § 2000e(2)(a)(1) and (2) (Count I), and that the individual Defendants acted in their official capacities to deprive her of her right to equal protection of the laws in violation of 42 U.S.C. § 1983 (Count II). Dr. Nanda also alleged that Defendant Bellur Prabhakar intentionally interfered with her contractual relationship with the University (Count III).

Defendants moved to dismiss the entire complaint. On August 21, 2001, this court denied the motion to dismiss Count I; granted the motion to dismiss Count II as to damages but denied the motion with respect to injunctive relief; and granted the motion to dismiss Count III. See Nanda v. Board of Trustees of University of Illinois, 219 F. Supp.2d 911 (N.D. III. 2001). On August 28, 2001, Dr. Nanda filed a First Amended Complaint in which she alleged an identical Title VII claim but changed the § 1983 claim to include the University as a Defendant and to assert that claim Page 2 against the individual Defendants in their individual, as opposed to official, capacities. Dr. Nanda did not reassert the tortious interference claim in any form. Defendants again moved for dismissal and on July 12, 2002, the court denied the motion with respect to the Title VII claim; granted the motion to dismiss the University from the § 1983 claim; and denied the motion to dismiss the § 1983 claim against the individual Defendants. See Nanda v. Board of Trustees of University of Illinois, No. 00 C 4757, 2002 WL 1553330 (N.D. III. July 12, 2002), aff'd, 303 F.3d 817 (7th Ctr. 2002).

  Defendants now seek summary judgment on all remaining claims. For the reasons set forth here, the motions are granted in part and denied in part.

  BACKGROUND*fn1

 A. Dr. Nanda's Employment

  The University is a public institution offering higher education at campuses in Chicago, Illinois ("UIC") and Urbana-Champaign, Illinois. Dr. Nanda, a woman of Asian and Indian descent, accepted a tenure track position with the University on May 20, 1996 as an Assistant Professor in the Department of Microbiology and lmmunology (the "Department") within the College of Medicine. (Def. Facts ¶¶ 1, 19; DX 32; Pl. Facts ¶ 5.)*fn2 She was recruited for the position by interim Head of the Department Phillip Matsumura, Ph.D. Dr. Matsumura explained that Dr. Nanda's basic science research had clinical relevance, and that Defendant Gerald Moss, M.D., Dean of the College of Medicine, wanted the Department's research to develop in the direction of basic immunology with Page 3 clinical interest. (Pl. Facts ¶¶ 6, 91, 92.) Associate Professors Amy L. Kenter, Ph.D. and David Ucker, Ph.D. both served on the search committee and agreed that Dr. Nanda's research was "programmatic," i.e., in line with the research direction of the Department. (Id. ¶¶ 94, 95; Ucker Tr., at 229-30; Nanda Tr., at 586-87.)

  Dean Moss approved the terms of the offer to Dr. Nanda, and she began her employment in October 1996. (Pl. Facts ¶¶ 8, 91; Def. Facts ¶¶ 17, 21.) At the time, Dr. Nanda was the only faculty member doing research on antigen presentation. (Id. ¶ 94.) Six months later in February 1997, Dean Moss appointed Bellur Prabhakar permanent Head of the Department in place of Dr. Matsumura. (Def. Facts ¶¶ 15, 22.) Dr. Prabhakar reported directly to Dean Moss, who oversaw all departments within the College of Medicine. (Id. ¶ 17; Prabhakar Aff. ¶ 9.) Though Dr. Prabhakar immediately began making arrangements to take over as Department Head, he did not arrive at U IC full-time until approximately June 1997, at which time he became responsible for the day-to-day operations of the Department. (Id. ¶ 24; Prabhakar Dep., at 89.) Dr. Nanda claims that her problems at the University began with the appointment of Dr. Prabhakar.

 B. Dr. Nanda's Interactions with Dr. Prabhakar

  1. Lab Space

  At the time Dr. Nanda was hired by the University, Dr. Matsumura sent her a written offer of employment stating that she would be assigned lab space in Rooms E709 and E709A, and that the space would be remodeled to include a tissue culture room. (Pl. Facts ¶ 6.) Dr. Prabhakar knew before he accepted his own position with UIC that those rooms were assigned to Dr. Nanda, and he agreed that she "probably had a right" to that space, (Id. ¶¶ 9, 11.) Nevertheless, in February or March 1997, Dr. Prabhakar sent Dean Moss a letter asking for authority to use those rooms for his own research once he started at the University. (Pl. Resp. ¶ 55.)*fn3 Shortly thereafter, Page 4 someone from the dean's office ordered that the renovations on the rooms be stopped, and Dean Moss himself gave Dr. Prabhakar permission to take over the space. (Pl. Facts ¶¶ 12, 15; Def. Resp. ¶ 12.)*fn4 After arranging for the assignment of rooms E709 and E709A to himself, Dr. Prabhakar assured Dr. Nanda that she would be assigned new lab space but said that she would not have her own assigned tissue culture room. Dr. Nanda complained to Dean of Research Claude Desjardins. One day later, Dr. Prabhakar reversed himself and notified Dr. Nanda that she would in fact get a tissue culture room. (Pl. Resp. ¶¶ 54; PX Resp. 1; PX Resp. 13, Nanda Tr., at 643-46.)*fn5 Several weeks later on May 22, 1997, Dr. Prabhakar appointed a committee to look into lab space allocations and to develop criteria for assigning lab space, such as the number of papers published and the number of people working in the lab. Dr. Nanda finds it significant that these new criteria were not developed until after Dr. Prabhakar took the lab space she had been promised and were not applied to resolve her lab dispute. (Pl. Facts ¶ 33.)

  While Dr. Nanda was waiting for her own lab space, she used the tissue culture room in David Ucker's lab. Dr. Prabhakar refused to assign Dr. Nanda a budget for her lab space and allow her to outfit the lab as she saw fit, insisting instead on personally overseeing all changes. During the renovation process, Dr. Prabhakar and Dr. Nanda argued over such issues as the height of lab benches and the location of the vacuum line, door, and other items. (Pl. Facts ¶¶ 20, 21.) Despite these disagreements, Dr. Prabhakar expressed some support for Dr. Nanda's research efforts. On August 21, 1997, he wrote a letter in support of Dr. Nanda's application for a Schweppe Foundation Career Development Award. (PX 17.)*fn6 In addition, on August 26, 1997, Dr. Prabhakar Page 5 recommended to the Board of Trustees that Dr. Nanda receive a $1,000 raise, citing her efforts to establish an independent research program and a successful grant application; "Your success in receiving funding from the American Cancer Society, Illinois Division is commendable." (Memo from Prabhakar to Nanda of 8/26/97; Pl. Facts ¶ 89.)

  The disputes concerning construction of Dr. Nanda's lab space continued, however. In the fall of 1997, Dr. Ucker, Dr. Kenter, Dr. Matsumura, and Simon Silver, Ph.D. met to resolve the disputes between Dr. Prabhakar and Dr. Nanda regarding the renovations to her lab. The committee spoke with Dr. Prabhakar and Dr. Nanda separately and recommended a compromise, which both Dr. Prabhakar and Dr. Nanda accepted. (Pl. Facts ¶ 22; Def. Resp. ¶ 22.) In Dr. Nanda's view, the lab space ultimately provided to her*fn7 was inferior to the space promised by Dr. Matsumura in that it had 40% fewer square feet and only one HEPA (High Efficiency Particulate Accumulation) hood instead of two. (Id. ¶¶ 17, 18.) Dr. Nanda claims that from 1990 to November 2000, the four male professors who received written employment offers designating specific lab space all received the space promised to them. Dr. Prabhakar's assistant, Peggy O'Neill, did testify to that effect at the preliminary injunction hearing; however, at least two of the professors testified that their lab space was smaller than or different from the space promised, (Id. ¶ 14; Def. Resp. ¶ 14.) A third, Dr. Ucker, did not get the lab space initially promised to him but ultimately received better space. (Id. ¶ 19.)

  2. Journal Club

  Also in the late summer or early fall of 1997, Dr. Nanda attempted to organize a "journal club," an opportunity for students and faculty to meet and discuss their scholarship. (Ucker Tr., at 306-07.) When Dr. Nanda advised Dr. Prabhakar of her plan, he told her that she was not authorized to establish a journal club on her own. Dr. Prabhakar told Dr. Nanda that she had to wait for him to form a committee to start and operate the journal club and that he would not attend Page 6 or support hers. The journal club finally got off the ground some six months later, under the direction of a committee appointed by Dr. Prabhakar. (Pl. Facts ¶ 34.) During the same time period, Dr. Ucker started a journal club on his own without any interference from Dr. Prabhakar. (Id. ¶ 35.) In 1999, two male Assistant Professors of Asian descent, Dr. Bin He and Dr. Lijun Rong, also presented Dr. Prabhakar with an idea for a journal club, which he fully endorsed. (Id, ¶ 36; Def. Facts ¶¶ 112, 113.)

  3. Grant Money

  On June 11, 1998, Dr. Nanda wrote a letter to Vice Chancellor for Research Mi Ja Kim, Ph.D., advising that the National Science Foundation ("NSF") had approved her grant application in the amount of $221,000. She asked that UIC share the costs required for her to receive the grant money by contributing $10,000. Dr. Kim, Dr. Prabhakar, and Vice Dean Charles Rice, M.D. all approved the request. (Pl. Facts ¶¶ 96, 97; Def. Resp. ¶ 96.) On June 30, 1998, Dr. Prabhakar also signed the required NSF Conflict of Interest Certification so that Dr. Nanda could begin her research. (Id. ¶ 101.)

 C. Dr. Prabhakar's Discriminatory Statements

  Dr. Silver claims that between February and November 1997, Dr. Prabhakar made at least four statements that Dr. Silver believes reflect discriminatory animus. (Pl. Facts ¶¶ 42-45; PX B, Silver Dep., at 164-65.)*fn8 Dr. Silver testified that on at least one occasion, Dr. Prabhakar told Dr. Silver that he and Dr. Silver (a Jew) both come from ancient, superior cultures but that Dr. Nanda, in contrast, was inferior. In a separate conversation, Dr. Prabhakar described his wife's job at the University of Chicago and how she took care of "everyday things" around the house so he could attend to "more important things." (PX B, Silver Dep., at 162-65, 168-71.) On another occasion, Dr. Prabhakar told Dr. Silver that he had had his fill of Dr. Nanda, was not going to tolerate her Page 7 anymore, and was not going to sign one of her grant proposals as "an issue of testicles." (Grievance Hearing of 3/2/99, at 5-7.) Finally, during another conversation, Dr. Prabhakar again said that Dr. Nanda was an inferior scientist and an inferior person, and that he "was going to destroy her." (PX B, Silver Dep., at 167.)

 D. Dr. Nanda's Terminal Contract

  As an Assistant Professor, Dr. Nanda could receive a written "notice of nonreappointment" from the University (a "terminal contract") at any time prior to the last year of her appointment. (Def. Facts ¶ 20; DX 10.) Dr. Nanda notes, however, that in recommending the nonreappointment of a faculty member, the dean is expected to consult with the departmental chair(s) and executive committee(s), or department head(s) "who shall provide the dean with the advice of the advisory committee or other appropriate committee as specified in the department bylaws." (Pl. Resp. ¶ 20; DX 10.) Assistant Professors on the tenure track customarily receive reviews at the end of the first three years to advise them about any areas needing improvement, though Defendants deny that there is any absolute right to such a review. (Pl. Facts ¶¶ 74, 75; Def. Resp. ¶¶ 74, 75.)

  Sometime prior to July 1, 1998, Dr. Prabhakar called a meeting with certain members of Dean Moss' staff, including Dean of Faculty Affairs Kathy Hart, Vice Dean Rice, and Dean of Research Desjardins, to discuss the propriety of, and procedure for, recommending that Dr. Nanda be issued a terminal contract. (Def. Facts ¶ 25; DX 11.) According to Dr. Prabhakar's assistant, Peggy O'Neill, Dean Hart advised Dr. Prabhakar that he needed to solicit input from a departmental advisory committee before making such a recommendation. (Pl. Resp. ¶¶ 25, 26; Def. Facts ¶ 26.) On July 1, 1998, Dr. Prabhakar recommended to Dean Moss that Dr. Nanda receive a terminal contract, which would end her employment with the University on August 31, 1999. (Def. Facts ¶ 28.) Dean Moss has no specific recollection of receiving Dr. Prabhakar's recommendation and was not directly involved in the events leading up to it, but acknowledges that it is "highly likely" that he knew Dr. Prabhakar was considering that course of action. (Id. ¶ 29; Def. Resp. ¶ 57.) In Page 8 making his recommendation, Dr. Prabhakar did not consult with the Faculty Advisory Committee or with individual faculty members "per se" but, he testified, he "constantly was talking to people" about Dr. Nanda and her performance on the staff. (Pl. Facts ¶¶ 47, 51, 68; Def. Resp. ¶ 47; DX 36, Prabhakar Dep., at 183-86.) Dean Moss believed Dr. Prabhakar had in fact consulted with the Faculty Advisory Committee prior to making his recommendation. (Id. ¶ 52; PX 24, Moss Dep., at 110-16.)

  On the same day that Dr. Prabhakar made his terminal contract recommendation to Dean Moss, he called an emergency meeting of the Department faculty to announce his decision. (Pl. Facts ¶ 46.) On the advice of the dean's office, however, he did not discuss the specific reasons for his recommendation. (Def. Resp. ¶ 46.) The UIC statutes do not specifically require a reason for a terminal contract, and it is Dean Moss' understanding that UIC policy is to not disclose one. (Id. ¶ 47.)

  Dr. Nanda received her terminal contract after approximately 20 months of employment. (Pl. Facts ¶ 77.) Defendants David C. Broski, Chancellor and Chief Executive Officer of UIC, and James J. Stukel, Ph.D., President and Chief Executive Officer of the University, cannot recall any Assistant Professor in basic science or the College of Medicine receiving a terminal contract before the third year of service. Defendants, however, produced a list of some 24 Assistant Professors, including Dr. Nanda, who received terminal contracts in their first or second year of employment, though Dr. Nanda is the only one from the Department of Microbiology and Immunology. (Id. ¶¶ 76, 78; Def. Resp. ¶ 76, 78; DX 53.) Defendants do not dispute that Dr. Nanda was the first Assistant Professor on the tenure track to receive a terminal contract without prior input from the Faculty Advisory Committee. (Id. ¶ 79; Def. Resp. ¶ 79.)

  Within a week after she received Dr. Prabhakar's July 1, 1998 letter notifying her of the terminal contract recommendation, Dr. Nanda met with Dr. Prabhakar at her request and asked his reasons for that recommendation. Dr. Nanda claims that Dr. Prabhakar told her she was not Page 9 being terminated for cause and there were no reasons for her dismissal. Dr. Prabhakar denies making any such statement and insists that he had numerous reasons for recommending her discharge, including complaints from students and technicians that Dr. Nanda had been abusive and treated them improperly; 15 or 16 grant application rejections; Dr. Nanda's lack of collegiality; and his belief that Dr. Nanda's research was not "programmatic" or consistent with the direction he envisioned for the Department. (Pl. Facts ¶ 81; Def. Resp. ¶ 81; DX 36, Prabhakar Dep., at 82, 84-89, 96-101, 121-22, 128, 178; Nanda Tr. 10/13/2000, at 711-12.) Dr. Prabhakar admits that he never told Dr. Nanda that her research did not fit the direction of the Department, nor had he ever sent her any memos outlining any performance deficiencies. (Id. ¶ 90.)

  On July 10, 1998, Dr. Nanda sent a letter to Vice Dean Rice, copied to Dean Moss, stating her strong belief that "a significant part of this decision is based on gender related issues and factors. This belief is shared by senior Faculty of the Department." Around the same time, Dr. Nanda met with Dean Moss and reiterated these sentiments, as well as her belief that ethnicity was also a factor in the terminal contract decision. (Pl. Facts ¶ 64.)

  1. Faculty Reaction

  Even before Dr. Nanda sent her letter to Vice Dean Rice, other faculty protested the decision. On July 7, 1998, seven faculty members, including Dr. Matsumura, Dr. Silver, Dr. Kenter, Dr. Ucker, Dr. Karl Volz, Dr. Japan Misra, and Dr. William Hendrickson, sent a letter to Dr. Prabhakar challenging his decision to recommend a terminal contract for Dr. Nanda. The letter asserted that "no substantive scientific or academic grounds for this decision exist," and suggested that "[g]iven the context of the personality differences between you and Dr. Nanda, this dismissal could be construed as a gender based action." The faculty members stated, further, that "[t]he absence of a stated cause for this action suggests that no clear justification can be made." (Pl. Facts ¶ 47.) Page 10

  Around July 10, 1998, Dean Moss met with Dr. Silver, Dr. Ucker, and Dr. Matsumura, who told Dean Moss that they believed the terminal contract was unjust and raised questions of gender discrimination. Dean Moss, who admittedly dislikes Dr. Silver and finds him lacking in credibility, responded by urging Dr. Nanda's colleagues to support the decision, now that it had been made, in order to avoid chaos. He also reportedly threatened to resign if Defendant Elizabeth Hoffman, Ph.D., Provost and Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs, did not uphold his recommendation. (Pl. Facts ¶¶ 61-63; Def. Resp. ¶ 63.) According to Dr. Ucker, Dean Moss also conceded in this meeting that it was wrong to issue Dr. Nanda a terminal contract without prior faculty input. (Id. ¶ 80; Def. Resp. ¶ 80.)

  On July 24, 1998, Dr. Prabhakar met with the Department faculty at Dr. Ucker's request. During the meeting Dr. Silver voiced his belief that the meeting had been called in response to the July 7, 1998 letter, but Dr. Prabhakar said that he would not discuss that letter, which he found "adversarial and threatening." (PX 24.) According to minutes from the meeting, Dr. Prabhakar acknowledged that he made the decision to recommend a terminal contract for Dr. Nanda "unilaterally," explaining that he chose not to seek approval from the Faculty Advisory Committee because he believed that committee would not agree with his recommendation. (Id.) One week later on July 31, 1998, the Faculty Advisory Committee sent Dr. Prabhakar a memorandum asking him to reverse the terminal contract recommendation. By letter dated August 24, 1998, Dr. Prabhakar refused to do so. (Pl. Facts ¶ 68.)

  2. Administrative Response

  Dean Moss had the authority to reject Dr. Prabhakar's recommendation, but after speaking with other professors and examining Dr. Nanda's performance with the University, he agreed with Dr. Prabhakar's assessment.*fn9 (Def. Facts ¶ 30; Def. Resp. ¶ 61.) Sometime between July 1 and Page 11 August 31, 1998, Dean Moss informed Provost Hoffman that Dr. Nanda should receive a terminal contract. (Id. ¶¶ 9, 31; PI. Facts ¶ 57.) Throughout her tenure with the University, Provost Hoffman routinely reviewed such terminal contract recommendations from Dean Moss and from the deans of other colleges at UIC. (Id. ¶ 32.) Prior to receiving the recommendation from Dean Moss, Provost Hoffman had no knowledge regarding the interactions between Dr. Prabhakar and Dr. Nanda. (Id. ¶ 36.)

  Provost Hoffman never spoke about the terminal contract recommendation with Dr. Ucker, Dr. Silver, Dr. Matsumura, Dr. Kenter, or Dr. Nanda herself, but she did discuss it with Dean Moss on numerous occasions. Though Dean Moss denies it, Provost Hoffman testified that he told her the faculty had met and voted to uphold the recommendation in August 1998. (PI. Facts ¶¶ 67, 70, 72; Def. Resp. ¶ 67; Def. Facts ¶ 33; PX Resp. 5, Moss Dep., at 216.) Provost Hoffman felt that it was important to have faculty approval because "if it's the faculty and not an individual department head, it's less likely that it really is discrimination." (Id. ¶ 71.) In any event, Provost Hoffman ultimately conveyed the recommendation to Chancellor Broski, who prior to that time had no knowledge of the interactions between Dr. Prabhakar and Dr. Nanda. (Def. Facts ¶¶ 5, 7, 37, 38, 40.) Sometime after receiving Dr. Prabhakar's recommendation and before August 31, 1998, Chancellor Broski recommended to President Stukel that Dr. Nanda receive a terminal contract. (Id. ¶¶ 2, 4, 42.) Like Chancellor Broski and Provost Hoffman, President Stukel had no knowledge of the interactions between Dr. Prabhakar and Dr. Nanda prior to receiving that recommendation. President Stukel could have rejected Chancellor Broski's recommendation but he passed it on to the Board of Trustees. (Id. ¶ 43, 45, 47.) Page 12

  3. Dr. Nanda's AFTC Complaint

  On July 13, 1998, Dr. Nanda wrote to the Academic Freedom and Tenure Committee of the UIC Faculty Senate ("AFTC"), asserting that the terminal contract constituted a denial of her right to academic freedom. Copies of the letter were sent to Dean Moss and Dr. Prabhakar. (Pl. Facts ¶ 65.) On July 24, 1998, the chairman of the AFTC, Dr. Eugene F. Woods, met with Dr. Prabhakar and asked him the reason for his terminal contract recommendation. According to Dr. Woods, Dr. Prabhakar at first said there was no reason for his recommendation, then said he wanted to take the Department in a new research direction. Dr. Prabhakar also reportedly mentioned difficulties surrounding Dr. Nanda's lab space assignment but indicated that this was "a minor part and was finished." Dr. Prabhakar does not recall making these statements. (PI. Facts ¶¶ 82, 83, 102; Def. Resp. ¶¶ 82, 83, 102.)

  On July 27, 1998, Dr. Woods met with Dean Moss to discuss Dr. Nanda's terminal contract recommendation. According to Dr. Woods, Dean Moss told him that he had been advised by counsel not to give Dr. Nanda a reason for the terminal contract, but that her research did not fit Dr. Prabhakar's vision for the Department. Defendants deny that Dean Moss made these statements. (PI. Facts ¶¶ 66, 84; Def. Resp. ¶ 66; PX 13, Woods Letter to Stukel of 10/22/98, at 2.) Dean Moss does not have a high regard for Dr. Woods and believes he is a "notorious" adversary with the University leadership and a "destructive force on campus." (Id. ¶ 104.)

 E. Dr. Nanda's Grievance Appeal

  On August 31, 1998, the Board of Trustees accepted President Stukel's recommendation and issued a terminal contract, ending Dr. Nanda's employment with the University on August 31, 1999. (Def. Facts ¶¶ 48, 49.) Pursuant to the University of Illinois at Chicago Academic Grievance Procedures ("Grievance Procedures"), Dr. Nanda filed a formal grievance demand with Dean Moss on September 11, 1998 to challenge the terminal contract. (Id. ¶¶ 50, 51.) Provost Hoffman and Chancellor Broski also received copies of that grievance demand. (Id. ¶ 57; DX 13.) In it, Dr. Page 13 Nanda argued that Dr. Prabhakar failed to follow the required departmental process prior to issuing his recommendation, and that the recommendation was based on gender and ethnic discrimination. (Id. ¶ 52; DX 13.)

  Before submitting this grievance, Dr. Nanda never told Dean Moss or anyone in his office that Dr. Prabhakar was treating her in an unfair or discriminatory manner, other than to complain to Dean of Research Desjardins in March 1997 that Dr. Prabhakar had refused to give her the tissue culture room she had been promised. (Def. Facts ¶¶ 54, 55; Pl. Resp. ¶¶ 54, 55; PX Resp. 1; PX Resp. 13, Nanda Tr., at 643-46.) Dean Moss never personally observed any overt gender or ethnic discrimination between Dr. Prabhakar and Dr. Nanda, and though Dean Moss testified that he thoroughly examined Dr. Nanda's performance with the University before upholding the terminal contract recommendation, Dr. Nanda admits that he had no knowledge regarding her teaching assignments, service on academic or faculty committees, efforts to establish a journal club, access to or relationships with graduate or post-doctoral students, grants or applications for grants, research, or community service. (Id. ¶¶ 55, 56.)

  1. Rochelle Cohen's Investigation

  On October 2, 1998, pursuant to UlC's Grievance Procedures, Dean Moss appointed Rochelle Cohen, Ph.D., then Professor and Interim Head of the Department of Anatomy and Cell Biology, to investigate Dr. Nanda's grievance and advise him of the merits. (Def. Facts ¶ 68.) Provost Hoffman had specifically asked Dean Moss to appoint a senior woman to investigate the claims because Dr. Nanda had made allegations of gender discrimination. (Id. ¶ 69.) Between October 12 and 26, 1998, Dr. Cohen interviewed 11 individuals from the Department, including Dr. Nanda, Dr. Prabhakar, Dr. Matsumura, Dr. Silver, Dr. Ucker, William Walden, Ph.D., and Dr. Kenter. (Id. ¶ 70; Pl. Resp. ¶ 70.) On October 26, 1998, Dr. Cohen issued her report to Dean Moss stating that she found no evidence of gender or ethnic discrimination by Dr. Prabhakar with respect to the terminal contract recommendation. (Id. ¶¶ 72, 73; DX 14.) Dr. Nanda claims that Page 14 in making this report, Dr. Cohen failed to document significant testimony from Dr. Silver, including that: (1) Dr. Prabhakar told Dr. Silver men were more important than women and Dr. Nanda was an inferior person from an inferior heritage; (2) Dr. Prabhakar told Dr. Silver he was "going to destroy" Dr. Nanda; (3) several faculty members believed gender and ethnicity "were significant components of the troubles between Dr. Nanda and Dr. Prabhakar"; and (4) Dean Moss would not rescind the terminal contract at the urging of Dr. Silver, Dr. Matsumura, and Dr. Ucker saying, according to Dr. Silver, "don't threaten me." Dr. Nanda contends that Dr. Cohen deliberately ignored these facts, but she cites no evidence to support such a claim. (Pl. Resp. ¶ 70.)

  2. The AFTC's Findings

  By letter dated October 22, 1998, Dr. Woods informed President Stukel of the AFTC's conclusion that Dr. Nanda's terminal contract had been issued without due process and constituted a denial of her academic freedom. In the AFTC's view, Dr. Nanda's research was, contrary to Dr. Prabhakar's assessment, an excellent fit for the direction of the Department. As part of his report, Dr. Woods cited a September 23, 1998 letter he received from Dr. Matsumura, Dr. Silver, and Dr. Ucker in which they reported that Dean Moss had told them that (1) Dr. Nanda's terminal contract was unique because Dr. Prabhakar did not obtain prior faculty input, and (2) the decision was made in an "unsatisfactory" manner given the lack of ...


Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.