Rutgers Dean Accused of Anti-Lesbian Bias

Rutgers Dean Accused of Anti-Lesbian Bias
Sunnivie Brydum

A former employee at New Jersey's Rutgers University alleges that she was fired because the dean of the women's college there doesn't like lesbians. 

Laura Federico, an out public relations executive, told the Home News Tribune that she was fired last October because Jacquelyn Litt (pictured above), dean of Douglass Residential College, "felt that women who had men behind them were stronger and better employees."

Federico's complaint, filed in New Jersey Superior Court January, names Litt as the primary defendant, claiming that because Federico "made no secret" of her sexual orientation and kept a photo of her wife on her desk, Litt targeted her for termination. 

In its official response to the lawsuit, Rutgers denies any wrongdoing on its behalf or Litt's, and claims that Federico was fired because she failed to meet deadlines. The response brief also claims Federico's work regularly required "substantial revisions, changes, or reworking."

But Federico's lawsuit alleges that colleagues warned her that Litt "did not respect lesbians," and that other out office staff had been forced to resign or been fired under Litt's leadership. 

New Jersey's Home News Tribune notes that Litt, who has served as dean of the women's college since 2010, has a reputation for fighting for gender equity in science, technology, engineering and mathematics. Before taking on her role at Rutgers, Litt was an award-winning women's and gender studies professor at the University of Missouri, Iowa State University, and New York's Allegheny College, according to the Tribune. Last year, she earned $176,000. 

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