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Princeton University will shell out nearly $1 million to back pay its women professors

After facing allegations of pay discrimination from the Department of Labor, the school agreed to pay $925,000 in back pay and at least $250,000 in future salary adjustments.

Princeton University will shell out nearly $1 million to back pay its women professors
Image Source: Princeton University

Princeton University was recently hit by allegations of pay discrimination from the Department of Labor. In light of this, the prestigious educational institution has promised to pay its women professors almost $1 million to settle the lawsuit against it, CNN reports. An investigation conducted by the Department of Labor's Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs found that 106 women in full professor positions at Princeton were paid less than their men counterparts between the years 2012 to 2014. While these were only preliminary findings, Princeton has agreed to pay $925,000 in back pay and at least $250,000 in future salary adjustments after reaching a resolution this month.




However, the school will be doing more than just offering its professors back pay. It will also conduct statistical analyses to determine further significant disparities against women professors. In addition to this, Princeton will pay for equity training for its staff. The university reached this agreement in an effort to avoid expensive and lengthy litigation, Ben Chang, a spokesman for the university, shared. In a statement, he revealed that the Department of Labor actually began its investigation into the university about a decade ago. The review was paused in 2016 but it was reopened in 2017 due to "unexplained reasons," as Chang stated.




By agreeing to offer back pay, Princeton University has not admitted liability in the investigation and, according to Chang, the school "continues to assert that it complied with both the letter and the spirit of the law." He said, "The University contested the Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs' 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." While these claims may never be proven, at least the professors in question will receive their rightful pay.




Princeton is not the only university to be embroiled in such allegations. As per the 2018-19 American Association of University Professors (AAUP) Faculty Compensation Survey, the net pay gap between women and men professors at Tufts University has widened to 96.6 cents on the dollar ever since it achieved near-perfect parity in 2016. The report shows that the gender gap in salary is present across the board for assistant, associate, and full professors. Grant Gebetsberger, who was the 2018 Tufts Community Union (TCU) Senate diversity officer, stated, "We know that our administration likes to pride itself on being a leader for positive change in social issues. We thought that that didn’t really make sense and that the values that were being stated were not matching up with the practice." This led him to co-write "A Resolution Calling on Tufts University to Achieve Gender Parity in University Leadership." Hopefully, Princeton's example will encourage other universities to employ gender pay gap parity practices before they face allegations from the Department of Labor.



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