Lavalli v. Texas State University, San Marcos
Kari Lavalli was an Assistant Professor of Biology at Texas State University-San Marcos (formerly Southwest Texas State University) on a tenure track, with a good record of teaching, scholarship and service. She noticed that there was a lack of diversity among recent hires. In particular, Lavalli was concerned that less qualified male applicants were given priority over female applicants, and were interviewed and hired at a greater rate in the biology department. Lavalli expressed her concerns to the chair of the department as well as to administrators at Texas State. In May 2001, the University terminated her contract for the 2001-2002 academic year. However, similarly situated males in the department received contract renewals that same year. Lavalli sued the institution for sex discrimination in the terms and conditions of employment and retaliation for complaining about the sex discrimination under Texas state laws. Lavalli claims that the University retaliated against her by refusing to renew her employment contract after she expressed concerns about alleged discriminatory practices at the University.
The case is currently proceeding, and Lavalli anticipates that the trial will be scheduled in 2005.