April 6, 1996 in City

Women Complain Of Put-Downs, Demotions

Eric Sorensen Staff writer
 

Tim Crawford, an associate professor in veterinary micro-biology and pathology, did not like it when Suzanne Nance, a research technician, gradually cut back her hours, Nance said in a 1990 complaint to Washington State University.

Her sister had been killed in a car accident, forcing her to re-evaluate her life, and then she encountered post-surgery complications from a Caesarean birth.

“He explained to me that he could have hired two men for the position which I interviewed for,” she said. “He continued to say that their wives took care of their families at home.”

Nance’s complaint is one of seven in a class-action complaint filed with federal officials last year.

While her allegations remain unresolved, officials last month concluded WSU discriminated against five of the other women.

WSU officials, while refusing to discuss details, have consistently denied any wrongdoing.

“All the claims that were under investigation … were very carefully reviewed by the institution and we did not find merit in any of the claims,” said Sally Savage, university counsel.

The complaints are as follows:

As Nance cut back her hours, she said Crawford berated and intimidated her and eventually asked her to resign for a 20-hour student helper job.

He said she would take it, “if I knew what was good for me,” she said.

She finally left WSU with her husband, former graduate student president Mike Moyer, who abandoned his own Ph.D. program in the process.

“I truly pity the next person who works for a tenured Tim Crawford,” she wrote in a letter to Savage.

Katherine Byrne, an assistant professor in veterinary microbiology and pathology, said Crawford attempted to touch her thigh in a stairwell and let his hands stray to her buttocks in January 1993.

After the department chairman gave Crawford a verbal reprimand, Crawford made denigrating remarks to her and undermined her role as an investigator in a project key to her career, according to papers she filed with federal investigators.

Crawford was out of the country and unavailable for comment this week.

Michelle Auslam, a broadcast technician for WSU radio and television services, said Joe Poire, a fellow technician, subjected her to unwelcome comments, staring, touching, sexually suggestive questions and verbal put-downs in 1993.

Reached Thursday, Poire repeatedly declined comment on the charges directly but said:

“I’m totally comfortable with the university’s findings of all her claims. I think very highly of WSU. I think very highly of the (communications) department. They think very highly of me.”

Auslam was moved to a lesser job, she said, and has since quit. Poire was promoted to broadcast technician III but last month abandoned in mid-semester a broadcast equipment class he taught to take a similar technician job at Eastern Washington University.

Leslie Liddle-Stamper and Linda Snook said they were subjected to the put-downs, “controlling behavior” and outright hostility of Ralph Lowenthal, head of the education library.

Liddle-Stamper said she was reassigned to a job with fewer duties. Snook, a library supervisor, received a lower-paying position in a move library officials said was forced by cutbacks.

Lowenthal, now a librarian at the Marine Corps University Library in Quantico, Va., denied their charges and said the women had a hard time accepting personnel guidelines.

Colleen Fowles, a graphic designer in technical services, said Bill Alspach, supervisor of the instrument shop, intimidated her by pacing outside her shop and coming in to “see what you do for a living.”

When she complained, Alspach subjected her to “unprovoked derogatory remarks,” according to her complaint.

, DataTimes

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