UAB President Claims She Was Forced Out Because of Gender, Age
Dr. Ann Reynolds claims in a federal discrimination complaint that she was forced out of the University of Alabama in Birmingham presidency because of her gender and age.
She also claims she never received a serious retirement offer. A board of trustees spokeswoman has disputed claims of discrimination.
Reynolds, 64, will be succeeded June 1 by UA System Chancellor Malcolm Portera, who will serve as interim UAB president.
Reynolds’ lawyers issued a statement last month on a complaint filed March 12 with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission against university trustees.
“Her charge of discrimination was filed reluctantly, only after months of effort by her and her attorneys to resolve the matter amicably with the board of trustees.
Unfortunately, the board refused to enter into serious discussions,” said the statement from Reynolds’ lawyers John D. Saxon and Richard F. Ogle.
The EEOC complaint, which is required before filing a lawsuit, charges that the university did not offer Reynolds the same benefits awarded to former presidents.
Reynolds also states then-chancellor Dr. Thomas Meredith did not want to deal with “a forceful woman, and thus engineered my ouster.”
The statement disputes the firmness of a retirement offer that included a one-year sabbatical at her current pay of $225,700 with benefits.
After the sabbatical, Reynolds could return to teaching and research as a tenured professor of biology with compensation equal to the highest pay of any professor in her department (see Black Issues, Oct. 25, 2001).
According to Reynolds’ lawyers, she never entered into any retirement or resignation agreement with the board.
“She was forced out of her position, which she does not leave willingly,” her lawyers say. “The only agreement ever proposed to her on behalf of the board was withdrawn after settlement discussions ensued.”
Reynolds agreed to resign at a September board meeting. Some board members last year questioned whether Reynolds had adequately supported monitoring grants and contracts.
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services is investigating UAB’s research program, specifically asking for accounting and record-keeping documents for federal research grants.
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