BRISTOL – A Roger Williams University professor has filed a multimillion dollar sexual-discrimination lawsuit against her employer, according to a statement.
Sharon DeLucca, a senior professor of graphic design at RWU, is seeking $2 million plus punitive damages, according to a lawsuit filed in R.I. Superior Court. The suit alleges four counts of sexual discrimination and names school President Donald Farish, former acting Provost Robert Potter and Assistant Provost Robert Cole as codefendants.
A tenured professor at the school, DeLucca alleges she was subjected to “repeated discrimination and retaliation over several years which caused her severe mental and physical distress and hospitalization.” The suit claims that DeLucca was a “driving force” behind the development of RWU’s graphic-design program, but has yet to receive equal title and compensation as her male counterparts.
The suit says that DeLucca initially filed a complaint of sexual discrimination against Cole with Roger Williams administration. DeLucca said that the complaint was supposed to be investigated by Potter. However, Potter downplayed the seriousness of her claim in their lone meeting, DeLucca said.
The lawsuit also claims that Farish then attempted to marginalize DeLucca within RWU, attempting to remove her from all elected committee positions on campus and barring her from any involvement in the graphic-design program. The actions caused DeLucca such stress that she was admitted to Rhode Island Hospital for “stroke-like symptoms” in April 2011, the suit says. •