Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Grossmont instructor awarded $385,000 by jury

Grossmont instructor awarded $385,000 by jury
San Diego Union-Tribune
March 25, 2009

A San Diego Superior Court jury has awarded $385,000 to a Grossmont College instructor who accused school officials of retaliating against her after she reported sexual discrimination and harassment to a supervisor in 2002.

The jury last week awarded damages to Gwenyth Mapes, a tenured humanities instructor at the El Cajon community college.

In her lawsuit, Mapes said she told her supervisor to tell another teacher, William Hoaglin, to “keep it in his pants” after reporting alleged incidents of sexual misconduct, according to court documents.

She based her complaint on discussions she had with a male student who had been in Hoaglin's class and told her he gave preferential treatment to attractive blond female students. She said a staff member also told her he had made suggestive comments to her. In addition, Mapes said she overheard students joking how being a blonde in the teacher's class would get someone an A.

The district said Mapes did not produce any evidence, and Hoaglin denied any wrongdoing.

Mapes said district officials gave her negative evaluations, suspended her and excluded her from activities after her initial complaint to her supervisor, Zoe Close, chair of Philosophy, Humanities and Religious Studies.

The district's lawyer said Mapes' supervisors disciplined her because she she had not produced any evidence of wrongdoing and continued to spread rumors about Hoaglin. –L.S.

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