• Tuesday, May 21, 2024

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Indian American professor sues Massachusetts college for racial discrimination

Lakshmi Balachandra, associate professor at Wellesley Business School, claimed she lost career opportunities and faced economic losses and reputational harm

Lakshmi Balachandra (Photo: Babson.edu)

By: Pramod Thomas

AN Indian-American associate professor at Wellesley Business School in Massachusetts, US, has filed a lawsuit alleging racial and gender discrimination, according to a media report.

The Boston Globe newspaper reported on February 27 that Lakshmi Balachandra, professor of entrepreneurship at Babson College, claimed she lost career opportunities and faced economic losses, emotional distress, and reputational harm as a result of mistreatment and administrators’ failure to investigate her concerns.

According to the report, Balachandra joined Babson college in 2012 and earned tenure in 2019.

In her lawsuit, she called out Andrew Corbett, a professor and former chair of the college’s entrepreneurship division, as the ‘primary direct perpetrators of the discriminatory work environment’.

According to the complaint filed in US District Court in Boston, Balachandra alleged that Corbett, who oversaw teaching assignments, class scheduling, and annual reviews, only allowed her to teach required courses in entrepreneurship despite her requests to teach electives – even though she had taught such classes previously at MIT Sloan School of Management and Harvard Business School.

“Babson favours white and male faculty and predominantly reserves awards and privileges for them,” Balachandra’s complaint alleged.

According to the complaint, despite her research record, expressed interest, and service to the college, she was denied numerous leadership positions and opportunities for more time to conduct research and write.

“Such privileges are routinely given to white male faculty in the entrepreneurship division,” the complaint read.

Lakshmi Balachandra’s attorney, Monica Shah, said that the professor has also filed a charge of discrimination with the Massachusetts Commission Against Discrimination.

Meanwhile, Babson College has responded that it takes concerns or complaints seriously and has well-established protocols and resources in place to thoroughly investigate and address them.

“The college is home to a diverse global community where equity and inclusion are valued and incorporated across every facet of campus, and where discrimination of any kind is not tolerated,” a spokesperson of Babson College was quoted as saying.

Lakshmi Balachandra, who is currently on leave for a fellowship at the National Science Foundation, is seeking unspecified damages, the report added.

(PTI)

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