CUNY settles pregnancy bias lawsuit

Stephanie Stewart, an honors student at Borough of Manhattan Community College, was pregnant and due to deliver before the end of spring semester last year. Her professor said she wouldn’t be able to make up tests or assignments missed due to medical appointments or labor and delivery. A dean advised her to drop the class.

Stewart was taking a women’s studies class, notes Slate. After her son was born, she discovered that Title IX requires schools to let pregnant students reschedule exams. With the help of the National Women’s Law Center, she sued the City University of New York system for pregnancy discrimination and won. CUNY agreed to reinstate her scholarship, reimburse her for the make-up class and adopt a policy on the rights of pregnant students and parents.

Stewart will graduate this spring and enroll in New York University in the fall.

A blogger called The Feminist Breeder has spread awareness of pregnancy discrimination, says Lara Kaufmann, NWLC’s senior counsel and director of education policy for at-risk students.

About 15 percent of CUNY students are parents and 58.4 are women. Nationwide, women who have children after enrolling in community college are much less likely to graduate than female students who don’t become pregnant.

‘Outstanding’ prof combines writing, art

Lois Roma-Delley, who teaches writing and women’s studies at Paradise Valley Community College (PVCC) in Arizona, was named the 2012 Outstanding Community College Professor of the Year by the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching.

Roma-Deeley pairs student writers and artists, who create visual art and write about it, a process known as ekphrasis, reports Community College Times.

Roma-Deely, who has a doctorate in interdisciplinary studies with a focus in poetry, designed and administers a lauded visiting writer and scholar lecture series on her campus and coordinates a popular annual creative writing competition for students.

. . . (She) was noted for her attention to students, who begin her courses with a writing exercise to assess their “learning readiness,” as well as to evaluate their mastery of skills needed to successfully complete her course. At the end of the courses, students self-evaluate their learning and set academic goals.

Also honored as state professors of the year are: John Hamman, professor and chair of the math department, Montgomery College (Maryland); Rees Shad, coordinator of media design programs, Hostos Community College (New York), Greg Sherman, physics professor, Collin College (Texas).