A review conducted by UC Irvine’s Office of Equal Opportunity and Diversity revealed that a former vice chancellor paid three women less than men who did similar work, according to the Los Angeles Times.
Thomas A. Parham, who recently left his vice chancellor position to become the president of Cal State Dominguez Hills, was found to have violated the university’s nondiscrimination policies by allegedly refusing to pay a female vice assistant chancellor and two female directors of campus centers as much as males.
In a statement, Parham denied the allegations and claimed he has a “long track record of supporting women,” adding, “I am disappointed by the claims in this report and I am confident that I did not act in a discriminatory manner.”
Parham pointed to his support for the creation of a women’s center on campus and the programs for empowering women that he helped develop.
Tamara Austin, the director of the Women’s Hub, disagrees. She filed gender discrimination complaints alleging that Parham removed her as a chairwoman of an annual black leadership gala and paid her male replacement while she previously did the same work for 2 ½ years for free, the Times reports. The review dated June 21 said that Austin’s replacement was paid $15,000 for three months of work, and the investigator reportedly rejected Parham’s justification of paying the man with funding left over from a contract from a different job at the university.
“The end result of [Parham’s] actions was a discrepancy in pay between male and female employees who did the same work for planning the Gala,” the review said.
Austin’s $73,000 salary is also reportedly $7,000 less than a male director with a similar position.
“I don’t believe women are being paid fairly on campus,” Austin told the Los Angeles Times. “I want to put them on notice that this just won’t go.”
The LA Times reports that two other women believe they were discriminated against by Parham as well:
- Jade Agua, former director of the Cross-Cultural Center, was not paid equally for additional work assigned to her leading a program known as New Narratives to promote intergroup communication and collaboration through films, speakers, panels and training. A male staff member who did the work before her as a large part of his regular job was paid a salary of $82,000 to $90,000. Agua, however, received no stipend for the extra work performed from December 2016 until June 2017, the review found. Later, at the urging of the female associate dean of students, Parham approved a $2,500 service award for Agua. He told the investigator he did not support a stipend because none had ever been paid to a New Narratives committee chair and the work was similar to Agua’s regular job. The review concluded, however, that Parham discriminated against Agua by giving her less money than what the male staff member received. Agua, who left Irvine in May for USC, declined to comment.
- The female assistant vice chancellor for educational partnerships took on extra work in enrollment services from August through October last year but was paid less than a man who later stepped in. The woman, who declined to comment and asked that her name not be published, was asked to fill in temporarily for the associate director of enrollment services but was not given an interim title or stipend.She ultimately received a $1,500 service award for her work. Parham, however, approved the interim title and a $6,000 stipend over three months for a male administrator who filled in after her. The investigator rejected Parham’s reason for the unequal treatment — that the woman had recently been promoted with a salary increase and the man earned less than she did. The review said both staff members had recently been promoted, were at the same level when asked to take on the extra work and should have received the same title and pay.
This summer, Parham was welcomed into his new role of president of CSU “at a very energetic time in the university’s history.” He was praised for his research in the areas of “psychological nigrescence, African American psychology, therapeutic approaches to counseling culturally diverse people, health and wellness, and multicultural and cross-cultural counseling.”
The review is ongoing.