Following a preliminary ruling from a federal judge, state education officials have decided to make a payment to end a gender discrimination lawsuit against Central Connecticut State University, and school President Jack Miller.

Three female professors, Barbara Nicholson, Marsha Bednarski, and Rathika Rajaravivarma accused the university and its president of improperly denying them tenure or promotions.

“Plaintiffs have submitted statistical evidence that President Miller recommended significantly more male candidates for promotion than women; and evidence that he recommended for promotion and tenure certain Caucasian, male applicants who had not received favorable recommendation,” wrote Judge Warren Eginton in a ruling dated September 12, 2011.

The preliminary ruling is available here: PlaintiffsvBOTetalDecisiononMotion

The judge ruled that on its face, there is a reasonable likelihood that discrimination may have taken place.  A more definitive decision could have been reached if the case had gone to trial.

Neither side would say how much money is being paid, but the payout will include legal fees for the professors.

At the end of a meeting Thursday, the state Board of Regents for Higher Education went into closed-door session.  When they emerged, they approved the settlement quickly, with no discussion in open session.

Board of Regents Vice President for Human Resources Steven Weinberger says the settlement allows both sides to move forward.

“Because it has been around for a while, it was a case we were prepared to litigate,” Weinberger said.  “For strategic reasons associated with a summary judgement we received, we decided to proceed with settlement.”

A lawyer for the professors, Mary Kelly, declined comment, as did Nicholson and Bednarski. Rajaravivarma is no longer at the university.

In the preliminary decision, the judge found that the university had an obligation to preserve the professors’ employment records, and failed to do so.

“The portfolios were destroyed, lost or altered. Defendants’ conduct constitutes gross negligence or at least negligence,” wrote Eginton.

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