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Discriminatory Professor Loses Discrmination Lawsuit

As a student who suffered through (then adjunct faculty) Margaret 'Peggy' Liebowitz's class way back when, it gives me a small amount of pleasure to read that her lawsuit charging the University was found to be without merit by a jury of her peers.

After seven years of litigation and a weeklong trial in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York, a unanimous 10-person federal jury completely exonerated Cornell of charges by a former employee of age and sex discrimination. The jury returned its verdict in Cornell's favor on April 23.

The plaintiff, Margaret Sipser Leibowitz, claimed in her lawsuit that Cornell's ILR School, its dean and other school officials discriminated against her when the school decided in 2002 not to renew her contract as a senior extension associate. U.S. District Judge George Daniels had dismissed the lawsuit twice previously, but the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit ultimately determined that a jury should consider the case.

The irony of course was that Peggy Leibowitz was by far the most unfair and discriminatory professor I encountered during my years as an undergraduate, when I otherwise dealt with wonderful professors.

She would give preferential treatment to students in her class who sought to go on to law school or pursue her own career in arbitration. Not only that, but she routinely scheduled mandatory 'catch-up' classes during time that was officially sanctioned by the university to be dedicated to non-academic purposes. Finally, she would give extra credit to those students who, while home on break in New York City, were able to attend her own arbitration hearings. Given that a large percentage of the class lived nowhere near New York, such a policy seemed blatantly unfair.

She was an awful professor and the university terminated her contract for good reason. After all, why would you want somebody teaching labor law who didn't even know if they had a proper age-discrimination law suit on their hands?

Now if only they can recoup some of the seven-years of litigation costs from her.

Matthew Nagowski | Posted on April 26, 2010 (#)

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