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UND PROF FILES SEX HARASSMENT SUIT

A UND professor is suing the university in federal court, charging that she was the victim of sexual harassment and discrimination in the UND psychology department. Dr. Sheila Deitz, associate professor of psychology, says in a complaint filed this week in U.S. District Court in Fargo, she has suffered lost wages, emotional distress, loss of her constitutional rights and other damages because of the way men in the department treated her.

She accuses UND of a "hostile, threatening and offensive work environment," created primarily by one male colleague. She blames the loss of her post as director of clinical training to retaliation from the department for her complaints.

Deitz charges that women students also were subjected to an intimidating atmosphere.

A UND faculty member since 1985, Deitz has been on leave the past year at the University of Denver. She names as defendants UND, the State Board of Higher Education, President Thomas Clifford, Dr. Mark Grabe, the chairman of the psychology department, Bernard O'Kelly, dean of the UND College of Arts and Sciences and Bill Beckwith, a psychology professor on leave out of state.

The complaint says Deitz unsuccessfully tried other avenues including the UND faculty grievance process, the state Labor Department and the Equal Employment Opportunities Commission (EEOC).

Psychology chairman Grabe said Tuesday he didn't see the complaint, which was filed Monday and assigned to U.S. Judge Rodney Webb. "Since I haven't seen it, I don't really have much to say. She brought similar claims on campus, and they were dismissed. She filed an EEOC complaint with the state, and that was dismissed. The EEOC summary said, in effect, what you have left to do is file a suit, and that appears to be what she's done." Defendant O'Kelly said, "EEOC found no substance to the charges brought. But I haven't seen the complaint, so I don't know if there any new changes." Other defendants weren't available. Deitz, who's represented by a Denver law firm, asks that compensation be determined during a trial.

Among allegations in the complaint:

Opposition by Deitz to the way women students and other women in the department were treated was met "with retaliatory measure."

Reference: Grand Forks Herald, April 8, 1992

P.S. This matter was resolved when UND settled with Sheila Deitz in an out of court settlement costing the taxpayers of North Dakota nearly $250,000.00.