By NATALIE WRIGHT
Washtenaw Community College English instructor Stephanie Gelderloos filed a lawsuit against WCC, President Rose Bellanca and Vice President of Instruction Bill Abernethy, alleging that the administration discriminated against her in the April 2013 hiring process for a full-time faculty position.
The lawsuit, in which Gelderloos is seeking damages in excess of $75,000, was filed on Thursday in the Federal District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan.
Gelderloos worked at the college for nine years, according to the complaint, as part-time, adjunct and temporary full-time faculty.
Gelderloos alleges that she was passed up for a full-time position, despite being unanimously recommended by a hiring committee, due to an intentional WCC policy to hire male candidates over female candidates in order to increase male representation in the English Department.
According to the complaint, Gelderloos also filed a charge of discrimination with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). In response to the charge, the EEOC issued a finding that there is a cause to believe illegal discrimination occurred.
The case is under further review by the Department of Justice. If the DOJ issues a “right to sue” letter, Gelderloos intends to amend the complaint to add a claim under the Civil Rights Act, according to the complaint.
On Friday, Susan Ferraro, WCC’s director of Public Relations, said that she knew nothing about the suit and was unable to contact Bellanca or Abernethy for comment.