May 5, 2009
Law Prof Sues St. Mary's for Nonrenewal of Contract After 10 Years on Faculty; Alleges Retaliation for Husband's Lawsuit Over His Removal as Dean
St. Mary's University School of Law instructor Rosanne Piatt's days at the school are numbered. That's despite the high ratings her students in family law and legal research and writing classes gave her on a fall 2008 evaluation survey.
Piatt says she taught her last class on April 24, and she was scheduled to give her last final exam on April 28.
A full-time instructor at the San Antonio law school since January 1999, Piatt alleges in a charge of discrimination she filed with the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission and Texas Workforce Commission Civil Rights Division that St. Mary's University notified her a year ago that her contract would terminate on May 31, the end of the 2008-2009 academic year.
In the charge, which Piatt filed in November 2008, she alleges her belief that St. Mary's law school has discriminated against her because of her age and gender. She is 57 years old.
"If you're an older female at St. Mary's, you're at risk," Piatt alleges in an interview. ...
Piatt believes St. Mary's law school may have decided not to renew her contract as a retaliatory action. She alleges a belief that St. Mary's retaliated against her because her husband Bill Piatt, former dean of the law school, filed a charge of discrimination against the school with the EEOC on April 26, 2007. The basis of Bill Piatt's charge of discrimination, according to his wife's filing with the EEOC, was that St. Mary's law school removed him as dean and from a prestigious professorship "because he had opposed discrimination against St. Mary's University female African American faculty members and prospective faculty members, and he opposed discrimination against minority students and applicants." ...
Matthew Pearson, a partner in San Antonio's Gravely & Pearson who represented Bill Piatt before the EEOC, says St. Mary's settled with Bill Piatt in May or June of 2007. The settlement is confidential, Pearson says.
Rosanne Piatt alleges in her charge of discrimination, "The non-renewal of my contract occurred on the first renewal cycle after my husband's charge was filed." In an interview, she says, "I'm sort of collateral damage in all of this."
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