Two RWU professors sue the school on grounds of racism and sexism
By: Alexandra Cowley
Two female professors at Roger Williams University are suing the school citing sexual harassment, racism, and sexism.
Professors Sharon Delucca and Bonita Cade say for a number of years they have been discriminated against by their male colleagues. Deluca claims she created the Graphic Design Department, but when asked for the compensation and title of department head she was shunned.
The Graphic Design professor said in a news conference Thursday that after asking for compensation, she was bullied and intimidated by administrators and staff. DeLucca filed an internal Sexual Discrimination claim against a male administrator, who she says later sent her threatening hate mail. DeLucca says the threatening nature of the letter put her in the hospital with stroke-like symptoms. While there, she says she was sent Black Lilies by RWU staff.
DeLucca is seeking more than a million dollars plus punitive damages in the case.
Dr. Bonita Cade, an African American Forensic Psychology Professor, says numerous racial slurs have been directed at her by male colleagues. Dr. Cade further claims she was sexually harassed by a fellow male professor when attempting to get into her classroom. She says he stood in the doorway and "rubbed up against me."
Both say they have filed numerous complaints with the university, including top officials, who they say did nothing.
Roger Williams University issued the following statement on the matter: "We are aware of
the claims made in this morning's news conference by Roger Williams University
faculty members Sharon DeLucca and Bonita Cade. As we have stated previously,
because this relates to both pending litigation as well as in-progress
arbitration matters governed by the University's contract with the RWU Faculty
Association, we will abide by our policy of handling these two, entirely
unrelated cases through the established legal processes rather than sharing
details publicly. We intend to vigorously defend against the alleged claims as
they relate to the University, and we believe that we will ultimately prevail in
Professor Delucca is also suing her union, The National Education Association of Rhode Island, saying they did not support her in her grievance.
We contacted Roger Williams University and NEARI for a statement. Neither would comment because of ongoing litigation.
The women say they have continued to work at the university to stand up for what's right and to set an example for their students.