Mecklenberg v. Montana State Board of Regents

13 EPD ¶ 11,438 (1976)

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Mecklenberg v. Montana State Board of Regents

United States District Court for the District of Montana
13 EPD ¶ 11,438 (1976)

Facts

Montana State University (Montana State) (defendants) was sued by Helen Mecklenberg and several other female faculty members (the female faculty) (plaintiffs) for sex discrimination with regard to salaries, promotions, and the representation and underutilization of women in certain departments. The suit was certified as a class action brought on behalf of all current and former female employees who might have suffered discrimination. Testimony at trial revealed that there were no women vice presidents, deans, or assistant deans at the various colleges. There was also testimony that a larger percentage of males reached the ranks of professor and associate professor than did females. Montana State relied on its affirmative-action plan (the plan) which it had implemented in order to address sex discrimination. The female faculty relied on a plethora of statistical evidence and data. This evidence showed that (1) 15 percent of female faculty holding a doctorate degree were full professors, compared with 38 percent of male faculty; (2) 42 percent of female professors with more than 16 years of experience achieved the rank of full professor, compared with 79 percent of males; and (3) female faculty spent almost twice as long as men at the associate-professor rank. There were also large discrepancies with respect to tenure and salary. Montana State defended these discrepancies with various explanations, including that women were more limited by family obligations and were less ambitious.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning ()

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