Philosophy dept. under fire for gender discrimination

An untenured philosophy professor claimed gender discrimination against her department at a recent Board of Regents meeting.

Assistant professor of philosophy at Sam Houston State University Diana Buccafurni-Huber, Ph.D., said she was denied a tenure promotion last year because of her gender.

Buccafurni-Huber claimed during her speech to the board that Frank Fair, Ph.D., philosophy program coordinator and chair of the departmental promotion and tenure advisory committee, “intimidated” and “retaliated” against her on multiple occasions.

“My tenure denial is a result of Dr. Frank Fair retaliating against me for opposing his violation of my civil rights and those of other faculty,” Buccafurni-Huber said.

Mike Wintemute, associate chancellor for governmental relations for TSUS said that no further action will be taken on the matter on the part of the board, as they are ill-equipped to do so.

“The Board of Regents heard the faculty member’s concerns at the last board meeting however, there is no appeals process that involves the Board of Regents,” Wintemute said. “Certainly anyone can come to the Board of Regents to air grievances or concerns— faculty, staff, students, parents, members of the community—many do. But there is no process with the Board of Regents where someone can file an appeal.”

This is not the first time the department has come under fire for gender discrimination as Buccafurni-Huber’s former colleague, Audrey K. Miller, Ph.D., spoke to the board Aug. 29, 2014 with similar allegations.

According to university spokeswoman Julia May, SHSU policy deters officials from commenting.

“It is a long standing practice for Sam Houston State University not to comment on personal matters,” May said.

Wilson declined to comment and referred The Houstonian to May. Fair did not respond request to comment.


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