December 3, 2002 - Proposed Settlement Reached in Lawsuit
Contact: Melinda Voss, (651) 296-9443, firstname.lastname@example.org
St. Cloud State University and the Minnesota State Colleges and Universities System have reached a proposed settlement agreement with faculty members who filed a class-action lawsuit alleging that they were victims of anti-Semitism.
Under the terms of the agreement, three faculty members who filed the lawsuit will receive $314,678, while other faculty members who filed discrimination or retaliation complaints related to anti-Semitism will share in a $50,000 fund.
St. Cloud State University President Roy Saigo said the proposed settlement is "a positive step forward."
"St. Cloud State University deeply regrets any acts of anti-Semitism that have occurred on the university campus or in the community." he said. "St. Cloud State University and the Minnesota State Colleges and Universities System strongly oppose anti-Semitism and any other form of discrimination."
St. Cloud State University and Minnesota State Colleges and Universities System representatives said the agreement avoids further expense, inconvenience and the distraction of burdensome and protracted litigation. Resolution of the litigation will allow the university to move forward with changes already in progress.
As part of the proposed settlement agreement, the university will create a new Jewish Studies and Resources Center and hire a coordinator who also will teach classes. The purpose of the center, which will be funded for at least five years at approximately $125,000 per year, will be to coordinate activities relating to Jewish heritage and history for faculty, staff, students and community members.
The university also agreed to take several other steps:
- Implement mandatory diversity training for faculty and staff that includes a component on anti-Semitism;
- Clarify notice procedures in faculty searches;
- With plaintiffs, select a consultant to evaluate the structure and staffing of the university's Affirmative Action Office;
- Make several changes in the university's procedures to handle discrimination complaints;
- Create a peer review process that will be available in all faculty retention, tenure or promotion disputes.
Under the proposed agreement, former faculty member Arie Zmora will receive $165,000; faculty member Laurinda Stryker will receive $80,000 and a paid one-year leave; and faculty member Geoffrey Tabakin will receive $20,000 and half-time reassignment for two semesters. The attorneys for the plaintiffs will receive $265,000.
In addition, a $50,000 fund will be distributed to faculty members employed at the university any time in the past three academic years who are Jewish or who filed a charge of discrimination or retaliation related to anti-Semitism with the university's Affirmative Action Office, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission or the Minnesota Department of Human Rights.
The proposed settlement is subject to federal court review and approval.
The Minnesota State Colleges and Universities system is made up of 34 state universities, community colleges, technical colleges and comprehensive community and technical colleges in 46 Minnesota communities.