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Is tenure denial an example of sex discrimination in academia?

Many Michigan college and university professors teach and conduct research as associate professors, adjunct faculty, part-time lecturers or graduate assistants. Often, those on non-tenure tracks or working as associate professors are women.

If you’re a female university professor, you may have applied for tenure with hopes of career advancement. Tenure offers job security, financial stability and the ability to keep doing what you love. However, in instances where tenure is denied, it may be evidence of discrimination.

Has your tenure application been denied?

You’ve already done the research, taught the classes and put in years of work. Your passion for teaching and higher education inspires your students. You’ve received positive reviews from students and deans alike. So, why would your academic institution reject your tenure application?

If you’re a woman, the denial of your tenure application could provide the grounds for a claim. In general, women are less likely to receive promotions than men, and academia is not immune to sex disparities and discrimination.

After a tenure denial, you may feel helpless and that everything you’ve worked so hard for was for naught. However, there may be grounds for a discrimination claim. The federal laws, Title VII and Title IX, legally protect female professors from discrimination in higher learning institutions.

How to get answers

If you have questions regarding the rejection of a tenure application, contact an attorney who is experienced in this area of the law.

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