Former professor may appeal race, sex discrimination case

by Kamariea Forcier

A former University assistant professor may appeal her case, which states she was unfairly denied tenure, to the highest court in the state of Minnesota.
Beth Bertelson, attorney for former General College Math Professor Aparna Ganguli, said both she and her client are saddened by the Tuesday decision from the Minnesota Court of Appeals. “We’re disappointed,” Bertelson said.
Ganguli alleged that she experienced racial and sexual discrimination when she was denied tenure at the University in 1992.
Bertelson said documentation produced by the University Senate Judicial Committee may not have been examined by the higher court.
“If you review the actual findings of the committee, they’re inaccurate. They’re wrong,” she said.
Bertelson said she fears that the higher court did not factor the discrimination alleged in Ganguli’s tenure denial into its decision.
“I’m particularly concerned with the discrimination claim, because they’re failing to analyze it,” she said.
Bertelson has approximately 30 days to appeal the decision, but no definite plans have been made.
Julie Sweitzer, an attorney in the University’s Office of the General Counsel, said she is not concerned about the possibility of an appeal to the Minnesota Supreme Court.
“I would hope and expect that the decision would remain the same” if the case goes to the Minnesota Supreme Court, she said.
Initially approved for tenure by her peers, Ganguli’s tenure case was dismissed by Jim Infante, former senior vice president for Academic Affairs.
Ganguli appealed Infante’s decision to the University Senate Judicial Committee, which reviews whether procedure was violated in the granting or denial of tenure. A three-member panel determined that no procedural violations occurred. Ganguli then appealed to the entire 33-member committee, which refused to examine the case.
Ganguli appealed to the Minnesota Court of Appeals in 1994, and the court determined that the case should be reheard by the entire panel.
When the panel determined that no policies were violated when Ganguli was denied tenure, she again appealed to the higher court.
Bertelson said Ganguli currently has a teaching position at Minneapolis Community College.