|$207,000 in Raises to Everyone Except White
Updated July 07, 2006
Plaintiffs' Case: In 1993, Northern Arizona University President Eugene
Hughes excluded 192 white male teachers from receiving raises solely because of their race
and gender. The teachers excluded from the raises filed a discrimination
At this writing, the suit has been heard before a jury in U.S. District Court in Prescott.
The jury returned its verdict on Monday, December 18, 2000: NAU was found not
guilty of reverse discrimination.
Two classes, representing the minority and white female and white male faculty claimed
their civil rights were violated in that pay action which the university says was an
If the 12/18/00 decision is reversed on appeal, it could become a landmark reverse
discrimination case within the 9th judicial circuit. If the decision is upheld on
appeal, it could end up in the U.S. Supreme Court who might tend to issue a national
decision against such reverse discrimination practices.
192 white males and 85 females were represented in this action. (Women were
represented in a class in the suit because the raises received by the women were $1,200
less than the raises received by the minority males.)
Under then-president Hughes' 1993 pay formula, women and minorities who had been allegedly
earning salaries below the midpoint of their salary range received raises ranging from
$183/year to $6,945/year, while 192 white male teachers who had been earning salaries
below the midpoint of their salary range receive NO raises.
NAU's Office of
Affirmative Action places a heavy emphasis on statistics to prove discrimination.
They list 15 government statistics web sites and stat packages as tools to determine if
AA policy states: "The Board and the universities will take affirmative action
to ensure equality of opportunity to minorities, females, veterans and disabled persons in
faculty, administrative, professional, and classified positions; in educational programs
and in all other Board or university programs and activities."
"white males" are NOT included in the above statement.
The table below illustrates the results of NAU's 1993 race and gender-based salary
of Teachers below the mid-point of their salary range:
of Teachers given raises under the plan:
NO white male teachers who had been earning salaries below the midpoint of their salary
range were awarded raises, BUT virtually ALL women and minorities who had been earning
salaries below the midpoint of their salary range were awarded raises.
Various university spokespeople, including the Ombudsperson, feminists, and pro-quota
activists have attempted to justify the blatant anti-white-male discrimination represented
by the university's action. Their back-pedaling explanations include the following:
- After the fact, one University source said
"The exclusion of white male teachers from raises may have been the result of
the quality of the white male teacher's teaching, their scholarship, their creative
activity, and/or their service". None of these factors, however, were made
explicit in then-President Hughes' decision to grant raises apparently based on race and
gender. (Nor did the University introduce any such evidence at trial.)
- One official attempted to rationalize the
discrimination against white male teachers by saying "Female and minority faculty
have always received less pay" than white male teachers, and regardless of the
experience or qualifications of the female and minority faculty, this fact alone should
justify granting of pay increases to female and minority teachers to the exclusion of
white male teachers.
- After the fact, feminists and minority quota
advocates have gone on record as saying "Well, President Hughes' [pay raise] formula
actually UNDER-estimated the amount of under-pay for minority and women teachers; women
and minorities actually should have been given even greater raises at the expense of white
- Ombudsperson Earl Backman stated on the record
"In cases where a person or group in an underrepresented group is needed, that person
could be hired over a represented person who is more qualified."
These are the official attitudes and biases the
plaintiffs faced when taking this case to trial.
NAU News Stories:
(Newest stories appear first)
lose discrimination suit (12/19/00)
[Arizona Daily Sun - Prescott]
"A U.S. District Court jury Monday rejected a class-action lawsuit filed by Northern
Arizona University faculty members who failed to receive a pay raise in 1993 because of
their gender and race."
The jury consisted of five men and two women.
"The lawsuit, filed by 186 white male professors and 71 female professors against
former NAU President Eugene Hughes and the Arizona Board of Regents, contended that
minorities were awarded pay increases in 1993 of up to $3,000 apiece while white males
"The female professors claimed they were discriminated against because they received
raises that were $1,200 less than those awarded comparable minority males.
The plaintiffs claimed that non-minority males were denied pay increases based on their
gender and race and that this fact violated NAU's own affirmative action program as well
as federal law. The plaintiffs' sued for $2 million to $4 million in back pay,
interest and legal fees.
During the trial, the plaintiffs produced an internal University study from 1993 -- the
year the special minority raises were issued -- which showed that there was no
statistically meaningful difference in salary levels between female professors,
non-minority male professors, and minority professors.
George Rudebusch, a lead plaintiff in the suit, said "I'm surprised by the verdict,
given the facts the jury saw. I thought we had a really strong case and I thought
the relevant facts came out. I'm confident we will prevail in the end. We're
planning an appeal at this time," according to the Arizona Daily Sun. Rudebusch
said it will take about two years before the case reaches the 9th Circuit Court of
(Based on the story by Gary Ghioto in the Arizona
Daily Sun 12/19/00)
|Fix or failure? (12/15/00)
PRESCOTT, ARIZONA (Excerpted from the Arizona Daily Sun):
"A U.S. District Court jury will continue deliberations Monday in a
multimillion-dollar reverse discrimination lawsuit filed by Northern Arizona University
faculty members who claim they failed to receive pay increases in 1993 because of their
sex and race.
"Closing arguments were heard in Prescott yesterday in the civil trial that pits 186
white male professors and 71 female professors against former NAU President Eugene Hughes
and the Arizona Board of Regents.
"The lawsuit alleges that Hughes awarded minorities pay increases in 1993 of up to
$3,000 while the white males received nothing. The female professors claim they were
discriminated against because they received raises that were $1,200 less than those
awarded comparable minority males.
Assistant Attorney General Lisa K. Hudson, defending NAU's
reverse discrimination policies, said that federal "civil rights" law and
university affirmative action policies require that the university use skin color and
gender when awarding raises. She told the jury "That's what affirmative action
is all about!"
"In closing arguments Friday, the plaintiffs asserted the real gap in salaries at the
time between white males and minorities was closer to $87, not $3,000. The suit seeks $2
million to $4 million in back pay, interest and legal fees." [One issue is the
questionable statistical method used by former NAU President Hughes in determining the
"The lawsuit also claims that the president's "unilateral decision" to
award the raises violated the university's own Affirmative Action Program and federal
civil rights law. "The raises were illegal, they were the wrong thing to do and
they did not comply with the law," said Jess A. Lorona, co-counsel for the professors
as the case wrapped up Friday afternoon.
Attorney Jess A. Lorona, co-counsel for the professors, and lead attorney Thomas C. Horne
told the jury of five men and two women that Hughes awarded the raises based solely on the
faculty members' minority status and sex and not the usual standards, such as merit,
teaching and research skills and service to NAU. "At the same time, qualified
NAU professors didn't receive anything because they were white and male, Horne said.
"You don't use race and sex as an absolute bar," said Horne, adding,
"That's against our constitution."
"... Lorona and Horne told the jury that the salary studies by Chambers and the
Commission on the Status of Women did not portray the actual situation at NAU concerning
wage inequities between white males, minorities and women.
"... after rank, seniority and market value were factored into the salary equation,
the consultants reported to [current NAU president Clara Lovett] that there was "no
statistically significant difference" between the salaries of men and women
professors at NAU.
"In addition, Gantz and Miller also said that their analysis found "that there
is not a provable inequity due to either gender or minority status" concerning
compensation at NAU.
"The consultants told [current NAU President Clara Lovett] that it was not as
"urgently necessary" to make salary adjustments in 1993 "as it
appeared." "If there were salary inequities at NAU, not one single
woman or one single minority male ever complained about it, " Lorona added.
Plaintiff's attorney Thomas C. Horne told the jury that the actual discrepancy in 1993
between white male professors and their minority colleagues was found to be only
$87. By contrast, the average raise given to minority male professors by [former
president] Hughes was $3,000 based, apparently, exclusively upon their skin color and
The plaintiffs' attorney, Horne, argued that former president Hughes should have included
performance factors such as the number of publications or books written by the professor,
grants received and committee work prior to his unilateral award of "race-based and
gender-based" raises. Attorney Horne argued that former NAU president
Hughes awarded the raises based exclusively on gender and skin color.
"The NAU affirmative action policy prohibits salary increases based solely on race
and gender, Horne added.
"The jury was instructed by U.S. District Court Judge Robert Broomfield that they had
to make two findings in their deliberations concerning liability, one for Hughes and one
for the Arizona Board of Regents."
(Based upon the Arizona Daily Sun story 12/15/00
by Sun Staff Reporter Gary Ghioto)
not 'right' (11/25/00)
"A reverse discrimination charge could cost Northern Arizona University up to $4
million, if a jury finds in favor of the plaintiffs.
"The lawsuit, claiming that NAU discriminated against some professors when handing
out pay raises not based on performance, is going to trial -- seven years after the
alleged discrimination took place.
"The case will be heard beginning Dec. 12 in U.S. District Court in Prescott. The
jury trial will establish liability. If the plaintiffs prevail, a special master will
determine the amount of damages to be awarded.
"The class-action lawsuit was filed by 192 Anglo men who went without raises in 1993
and 75 women who were making at least $1,200 less than comparable minority males because
of what they say was a faulty computer regression analysis. All claim they were
discriminated against because of their race and/or gender. They're asking for $2 million
to $4 million in back pay, interest and lawyers' fees. The amount varies due to each
side's different opinion on whether market adjustments have been made by NAU since 1993.
"The plaintiffs say that in 1993 then NAU President Eugene Hughes gave more than
$200,000 in raises to women and minorities who were below the midpoint of their salary
range ..." [ ...based on a statistical analysis which the plaintiffs claim
unfairly shortchanged white male faculty members as well as some white and minority
"These raises were done unjustly," said George Rudebusch, NAU philosophy
professor and lead plaintiff in the lawsuit.
"If you were a white male, you were absolutely barred from getting a raise,"
said Tom Horne, the attorney representing Rudebusch and the other plaintiffs. "The
way these raises were determined was totally fallacious."
"If you don't factor in performance when looking at salaries, it won't tell you
anything useful," Horne said, adding that Hughes didn't consider performance when he
handed out the last raises under his tenure. "The difference in salaries can be
explained by performance."
"NAU officials would not comment for the story, saying its policy is not to comment
on an ongoing lawsuit.
"Soon after handing out the controversial raises, Hughes left NAU.
"Several examples listed in the lawsuit show that men, women and minorities with
similar positions in the same department were making the exact same salary before the 1993
raises were handed out. But the minority male professors received the largest 1993 raises,
then minority women, and last the Anglo women. Anglo men received nothing.
"Court documents show that the plaintiffs asked to be retroactively awarded the
salary increase and benefits, including back pay that he or she would have received if all
salary increases had been based on a neutral policy and procedure.
"We want to send a message across the state that it's not OK to fix inequities based
on statistical studies that ignore performance," Rudebusch said. "Winning this
lawsuit would establish that universities can't adjust salaries exclusively based on sex
(Excerpted from the story by Mary Tolan in the
Arizona Daily Sun story 11/25/00)
[link to Arizona Daily Sun story:
NAU pay-dispute lawsuit nears trial
after 7 years (10/16/00)
"A lawsuit alleging that Northern Arizona University mistreated women and White males
when doling out pay raises finally comes to trial in December - seven years after
professors banded together in a rare charge of discrimination.
"The NAU case began in 1993 after then-President Eugene Hughes gave more than
$200,000 in raises to women and minorities who were below the midpoint of their salary
"The problem ... was that the computer analysis used to determine the raises did not
take into account each professor's performance and the highest academic degree
earned. "If you were a White male, you were absolutely barred from getting a
raise," said Tom Horne, the attorney representing both women and White males who
filed the class-action lawsuit. "The way these raises were determined was totally
"NAU declined to comment on the case ... The state, along with Hughes, the Arizona
Board of Regents and several former regents are also named as defendants.
"The lawsuit seeks $2 million in damages, which includes back pay for professors who
claimed they were discriminated against.
"The NAU matter began as a class-action lawsuit filed by 192 White males and 85 women
who were making at least $1,200 less than comparable minority males due to what they say
was a faulty computer regression analysis.
"... the pay for those White males who did get raises and some women still remained
less than if they had been treated the same as minority males. "If it were just
White males, it would be a bunch of White whiney males fighting affirmative action,"
said Ed Hood, a Spanish professor who is part of the class action. "But it's much
more than that."
"Hood, who said he stands to gain little from the lawsuit since punitive damages are
not allowed, said he remains committed to the issue on principle. "This has
gotten very personal for me," he said. "I don't want to work at a university
that's allowed to operate with impunity." (Arizona Republic 10/16/00, page B-1,
by Kerry Fehr-Snyder)
[alternate link requires registration and password: http://www.arizonarepublic.com/arizona/articles/1016nau16.html
Attorneys for the
Attorneys Jess A. Lorona and Thomas C. Horne represented the white male professors in this
reverse discrimination case. The law firm is Ducar, Lorona and Parks, P.C., and it
is located in Phoenix, Arizona.
Related / Similar
Reading and Links:
Lawsuit: Benton Harbor,
Michigan School System Reverse Discrimination
of Michigan vs. White Student Applicants
National News Story Index -
Reverse Discrimination in Education
Northern Arizona University Affirmative
END Case 23: NAU Denies Pay Increases to White Males