Wichita State settles with pregnant professor over job offer

Close-up of young pregnant woman touching her abdomen while sitting on the couch

WICHITA, Kan.  — An Ohio woman who said she lost a job offer at Wichita State University after she revealed she was pregnant has reached a $50,000 settlement with the university.

Evangeline Heiliger sued Wichita State in December because she said the school withdrew a job offer for an assistant professor of women’s studies a day after she told Center of Women’s Studies director Chinyere Okafor that she was expecting a baby and asked about child care options on campus, The Wichita Eagle reported .

Heiliger was a visiting assistant professor of gender, sexuality and feminist studies at Ohio’s Oberlin College when she applied for the Wichita State job in 2017. She said she was offered the position after interviewing in February 2018.

A day after she told Okafor in March of that year about her pregnancy, then-department head Ron Matson told her in an email that she had been removed from consideration and also ignored a follow-up email saying she was eager to begin the job, according to her lawsuit.

Court records show that Heiliger and Wichita State agreed to settle the lawsuit following a seven-hour mediation session in May.

Wichita State spokesman Joe Kleinsasser said Wednesday that school would not comment on the settlement. The university’s general counsel, David Moses, said previously that an administrative agency investigation found the university didn’t violate any laws and that the school “remains committed to creating a fair and equitable workplace.”

As part of the settlement, Heiliger agreed to dismiss her lawsuit and never again apply for employment with Wichita State, according to a settlement agreement released by the university last week. The agreement also bars her from discussing or commenting on the settlement or her pregnancy discrimination claims.

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