The New York Times - USA (2020-10-16)

(Antfer) #1


Ruth Bader Ginsburg joined the
faculty of Rutgers Law School in
1963, the same year federal legis-
lation aimed at abolishing wage
disparity between women and
men became law. But Justice
Ginsburg, who was the second
woman to serve on the Supreme
Court and who died last month,
was paid much less than her male
So, she and other female faculty
members mounted a legal chal-
lenge against Rutgers, New Jer-
sey’s flagship university, winning
a settlement that earned the wom-
en substantial raises.
More than 50 years later, some
women claim they are still being
On Wednesday night, in the lat-
est battle over equal pay in higher
education, five female tenured
professors accused Rutgers in a
lawsuit, filed in State Superior
Court, of paying them far less than
their male counterparts.
Two of the plaintiffs are distin-
guished professors, a title given
only to faculty members who have
achieved the highest levels of
scholarship. One, Nancy Wolff,
has published two books and writ-
ten more than 100 peer-reviewed
articles. Another, Judith Storch,
has presented at more than 150 re-
search seminars and won multiple
awards. And a third, Deepa Ku-
mar, is a world-renowned scholar
of Islamophobia and race.
All of them say they are paid
tens of thousands of dollars a year
less than male peers with similar
“We as professors are working
so hard to inspire our students, to
expand the knowledge base, and

to work with our communities and
policymakers to solve social prob-
lems,” said Professor Wolff, who
teaches public policy, “and we
should know that within our aca-
demic community, principles of
economic justice will be safe-
University officials said that
they would not comment on the
lawsuit. But the school, in a state-
ment, said it was “committed to
pay equity” and was reviewing
the way it paid professors but had
been hampered by the pandemic.
“Creating a new and complex
faculty pay equity program that
accounts for the variety of disci-
plines, individual schools, and ti-
tles at a university is challenging
even in the best of times,” the
school said.
The complaint comes days after
Princeton University agreed to
pay more than $1.2 million to
women on the faculty after a fed-
eral investigation revealed that
they were being paid less than
male professors.
Similar equal pay challenges
have been lodged recently against
universities across the country, in-
cluding Northern Michigan Uni-
versity, the University of Arizona
and the University of Denver.
Professor Kumar, who teaches
journalism and media studies,
was hired in 2004 along with four
white men and women who, at the
time, earned about the same —
and in some cases, lower — sala-
ries than her.
Over time, they were given big-
ger raises and today, according to
the suit, Professor Kumar earns
about $25,000 less than other full
professors in her department.
She said she had tried repeat-
edly to negotiate pay raises, but it
had been “very difficult and very
time consuming.”
“It is also emotionally draining
to keep having to prove that you
are equivalent to your white peers
and your male peers only to be
told that you are not on grounds
that are at best flimsy,” she added.
Professor Storch, a distin-
guished professor of nutritional
sciences, said she earned more
than $46,000 less on average than
all the distinguished professors in
biomedical science.
“I was stunned when I saw the

data,” she said.
Donna Ginther, an economist at
the University of Kansas who
studies wage inequity, says her re-
search shows that the pay dispar-
ity between women and men
grows as women move up the
ranks in academia.
“The longer women are in their
careers, the more the gap grows,”
Dr. Ginther said, “and that sug-
gests something is happening
with respect to how their contri-
butions are valued.”
At Rutgers, a study commis-
sioned in 2018 by the university’s
faculty union showed that when
adjusted for rank, women who are
tenured earned on average about
2 percent less than men. Because
women make up only 30 percent
of full professors and 20 percent of
distinguished professors, the
study also examined pay discrep-
ancies among faculty members of
different ranks.
When rank was eliminated,
women’s pay lagged more than 7
percent on average compared
with men’s salaries, according to
the study.
As a result of the findings, Rut-
gers and its faculty last year
reached a pay equity agreement
that established a formal process
to allow any faculty member to re-
quest a salary adjustment. Re-
views are supposed to be com-
pleted within 90 working days and
the university must notify appli-
cants of any delay.
Professor Storch, citing her pay
discrepancy, made her request
last Nov. 18. On Aug. 19, she was
told that her case was still under
review. She said she had not heard
anything since.
The other four plaintiffs have
also filed pay equity requests but
have not had their cases resolved,
according to the suit.
The faculty union formed a
committee, in part to help profes-
sors concerned about their pay
make their cases to the university.
Of 81 requests the committee
confirms have been submitted to
Rutgers, none has been decided.
Women made 48 of those re-
quests; men submitted 33.
The lawsuit comes amid a pan-
demic that has ravaged university
budgets and caused faculty and
staff members to rejigger their
work schedules. Some of the
plaintiffs in the Rutgers case said
the school had blamed the out-
break for its inability to respond to
pay equity requests.
The university, in its statement,
said the challenges in addressing
the pay issues were “magnified af-
ter having to divert our personnel
resources to responding to the im-
mediate issues presented by the
Covid crisis, including preserving
jobs and benefits after the shut-
down was ordered and tele-
commuting for employees, as well
as a variety of health and safety
concerns for everyone who works
at Rutgers.”
Professor Kumar said she esti-
mated that she would have earned
more than $300,000 in additional
salary at Rutgers if she had been
paid at the same rate as col-
leagues with similar credentials.
Professor Wolff said she would
have earned $500,000 more in
wages. “What that means is that I
have indirectly given a half a mil-
lion dollar subsidy to the univer-
sity to pay higher wages to my fac-
ulty equivalents, who are primari-
ly white males,” she said.
Kim Churches, the chief execu-
tive of the nonprofit American As-
sociation of University Women,
said the issue of pay equity was
even more urgent during the out-
break, with studies showing wom-
en in academia bearing more
household responsibilities than
their male peers.
“This issue of where we are in
higher education is just bursting
into public view,” Ms. Churches
The Rutgers professors chal-
lenging the university’s pay struc-
ture said they hoped to achieve
systemic changes.
“When I was asked to join this, I
said that the only reason I was
willing to do it is because it would
advantage people who do not have
the job security to do what I am
doing,” Professor Wolff said. “And
that is exactly why we have ten-
ure: So that when we see wrong-
doing, that we can stand up and
say that this is not right.”

Nancy Wolff, a distinguished professor at Rutgers, said in a suit
that she and other women were paid far less than male peers.


5 Female Professors Sue

Rutgers Over Pay Gap,

Echoing a Famous Case


Nearly 50 years after

Ruth Bader Ginsburg

led a legal challenge.

For several months, as the pan-
demic has worsened New York
City’s financial outlook, business
leaders have cast around for one
of their own to run for mayor next
They offered their support and
floated the possibility of tens of
millions of dollars in campaign do-
nations for the right candidate,
someone more favorable to the
business community than the cur-
rent mayor, Bill de Blasio, and
with the financial background to
keep the city solvent.
That candidate has apparently
Raymond J. McGuire, one of the
highest-ranking and longest-serv-
ing Black executives on Wall
Street, announced on Thursday
morning that he is leaving his post
at Citigroup to prepare for a run
for the Democratic nomination for
mayor, just eight months before
the primary.
Mr. McGuire, 63, a vice chair-
man at Citigroup, had been
mulling a potential run for
months. Although he is well
known in the financial world — he
was one of three finalists in 2018 to
become president of the Federal
Reserve Bank of New York — he is
far less known to voters, who must
be persuaded to back a first-time
candidate over more established
He will also have to raise funds
in a compressed amount of time;
Mr. McGuire said that he would
not participate in the city’s match-
ing campaign finance system, al-
lowing him to accept larger dona-
With New York City battling si-
multaneous crises that cut deep
into the heart of its character and
intensity, Mr. McGuire believes he
is better suited than his rivals to
guide a recovery.
The city faces the loss of at least
$9 billion in tax revenue over the
next two fiscal years, which could
cause the layoffs of tens of thou-
sands of city workers. The city is
also dealing with a national reck-
oning over discriminatory polic-
ing, while shootings and homi-
cides have risen in recent months.
“New York gave me the oppor-
tunity to be enormously success-
ful,” Mr. McGuire said in an inter-
view. “Now New York is in a finan-
cial crisis that has exploded into a
whole bunch of crises — educa-
tional, health and criminal justice.
If there is a moment in history
where my skill set can help lead,
this is it.”
After Mr. McGuire informed his
colleagues and clients of his deci-
sion on Thursday morning, his
campaign started a website and
sent an introductory email that fo-
cused on what Mr. McGuire saw
as the city’s most pressing chal-
“I’ll start with this: No jobs, no
city. It’s that simple,” he wrote.
For the last 18 months, Mr. Mc-
Guire said, his peers in the busi-
ness world have tried to persuade
him to run. William M. Lewis Jr.,
co-chairman of investment bank-
ing at Lazard, said Mr. McGuire

had “a unique understanding of
why Black lives matter,” but also
of the financial crisis the city
“We need someone who is going
to walk into the room and say, ‘Let
me see the spreadsheets, and let’s
deal with the crisis at hand,’ ” said
Mr. Lewis, who has known Mr.
McGuire since their days as un-
dergraduates at Harvard. “We
need somebody who is going to be
able to get their hands around this
budget, talk to Washington and
help get us more money. We need
somebody who’s going to say ev-
eryone needs to pay their fair
Mr. McGuire joins a growing
field of declared and likely candi-
dates, including the Brooklyn bor-
ough president, Eric Adams;
Scott M. Stringer, the city comp-
troller; Dianne Morales, a former
nonprofit executive; a former fed-
eral housing secretary, Shaun
Donovan; Maya Wiley, a civil
rights lawyer and former counsel
for Mr. de Blasio; Kathryn Garcia,
the former sanitation commis-
sioner; a Brooklyn councilman,
Carlos Menchaca; and Loree Sut-
ton, the former veteran affairs
City laws prevent Mr. de Blasio
from running for a third consecu-
tive term.
Many successful business lead-
ers, like Ronald Lauder and John
A. Catsimatidis, have in the past
tried and failed to win the may-
oralty. But the notion that a sud-
den shift or a calamity could alter
the trajectory of New York City’s
elections is hardly implausible.
The fiscal crisis of the 1970s
helped push Edward I. Koch into
office in 1977; he was then un-
seated in 1989 by David N. Dink-
ins, whose campaign to become
the city’s first Black mayor took
flight after the racially motivated
murder of Yusuf Hawkins in Ben-
sonhurst, Brooklyn.
In 2001, Michael R. Bloomberg,
a billionaire businessman then
running as a Republican, captured
the general election, an upset that
was widely attributed to the Sept.

11 attack on the World Trade Cen-
ter and its devastating afteref-
fects on the city’s economy and
Mr. McGuire resisted compar-
isons to Mr. Bloomberg. Raised by
his mother, a social worker who
was a single parent, and his
grandparents in Dayton, Ohio, Mr.
McGuire says he has never met
his father. Scholarships helped
him attend the Hotchkiss School
in Connecticut, and Mr. McGuire
went on to attain degrees from
Harvard College, Harvard Law
School and Harvard Business
“I doubt we’ve arrived at the
point where we would hear any-
one who followed in my footsteps

being called the white Ray Mc-
Guire,” he said. “Judge me on my
Mr. McGuire lives on Central
Park West with his wife, Crystal
McCrary McGuire, a lawyer and
filmmaker, and their 7-year-old
son, Leo. The couple also have two
children from Ms. McGuire’s pre-
vious marriage to the former New
York Knicks player Greg Antho-
ny: an 18-year-old daughter, Ella;
and a son, Cole, 20, who is a poten-
tial first-round pick in the coming
National Basketball Association
He is known to quote Notorious
B.I.G. lyrics (“If you don’t know,
now you know” is one of his favor-
ites) and the character of Omar
Little from “The Wire” and is fond
of saying he is comfortable any-
where from the “streets to the
suites.” During a recent visit to the
Rev. Al Sharpton’s National Ac-
tion Network in Harlem, Mr. Mc-
Guire spoke about the history of
the civil rights movement with the

cadence of a Black minister.
In spite of his Wall Street pedi-
gree, Mr. McGuire says that when
he is coming home from the gym
in workout gear, he is viewed as
just another 6-foot-4 Black man.
“I could easily be the next
George Floyd,” said Mr. McGuire,
who has referred to Mr. Floyd’s
death at the hands of police offi-
cers in Minneapolis as “cold-
blooded murder.”
The disparate impact of the co-
ronavirus pandemic on Black and
Latino people is merely the most
recent example of “systemic, in-
stitutional racism,” said Mr. Mc-
Guire, who wrote the introduction
to a recent report from Citi that
concluded that $16 trillion could
have been added to the United
States’ economy if four key racial
gaps facing Black Americans had
been closed.
While Mr. McGuire has spoken
out against discriminatory polic-
ing, he is not calling for police de-
partments to be defunded. Last
year, along with other Black lead-
ers, Mr. McGuire signed a letter to
The New York Times denouncing
episodes in which police officers
were doused with water in
Christina Greer, an associate
professor of political science at
Fordham University, said the
comparisons to Mr. Bloomberg
were inevitable.
“There is already a 12-year
record of what happens when a
rich person becomes mayor,” Pro-
fessor Greer said. “With the issues
the city needs to handle, voters
may want the next mayor to be
someone who fundamentally un-
derstands city government.”
But Kirsten John Foy, a civil
rights leader who has not en-
dorsed a mayoral candidate, said
he met with Mr. McGuire at the
basketball court of Marcy Houses
in Brooklyn to hear his vision for
the city.
“He’s an intellectually curious
and highly successful Black man
that wants to serve,” Mr. Foy said.
“That narrative is appealing to
people of all ages and all colors.”

Bank Executive Jumps Into Race for New York Mayor


Raymond J. McGuire is fond of saying he is comfortable anywhere from the “streets to the suites.”


A candidate with the

support, and maybe

dollars, of Wall Street.

Susan Beachy contributed re-

There are still people who re-
member Ruth Bader Ginsburg not
just as a Supreme Court justice
and champion of women’s rights,
but as a Brooklyn native who
grew up in Flatbush, attended the
Hebrew school at the East Mid-
wood Jewish Center and graduat-
ed from James Madison High
School in 1950.
Now, nearly a month after her
death, artists and city and state of-
ficials are seizing on ways to me-
morialize the Brooklyn roots that
shaped her career.
On Wednesday, Gov. Andrew M.
Cuomo said he had appointed a
special commission to oversee the
creation of a statue somewhere in
The governor had already an-
nounced that the state would erect
a statue, but the commission will
now seek a location, design and
will iron out other details. There is
no timetable on when the commis-
sion is first expected to meet, ac-
cording to a spokeswoman for Mr.
A day before Mr. Cuomo an-
nounced the commission, officials
at City Point, a residential and
commercial development in
Downtown Brooklyn, said a
bronze statue of Justice Ginsburg
would be unveiled there on March
15, on what would have been her
88th birthday.
Last month, the city renamed
the Brooklyn Municipal Building
for Justice Ginsburg. Mayor Bill
de Blasio also said the city would
start planning its own memorial,
though his office said on Thursday
that there was no update on that
“Ruth Bader Ginsburg embod-
ied a set of ideals often missing in
today’s civic dialogue — she
showed us reason, empathy and
hope,’’ Mr. Cuomo said on
Wednesday. “Her legacy as a ju-
rist, professor, lawyer and scholar
will endure for generations and
we are honored to erect a perma-

nent statue.
The state’s commission for the
statue includes her daughter,
Jane, two granddaughters, and
friends and colleagues of the jus-
The news came as the Senate
Judiciary Committee was holding
conformation hearings for Judge
Amy Coney Barrett, a favorite
among conservatives, to succeed
Justice Ginsburg on the Supreme
The news of Justice Ginsburg’s
death last month from complica-
tions of metastatic pancreatic can-
cer hit New Yorkers particularly
In New York, hundreds of peo-
ple gathered outside the court-
house in Foley Square in Lower
Manhattan, holding candles and
singing. In Midtown, an artist al-
tered a subway mosaic at 50th

Street to read “RUth St.” Signs
across Brooklyn urged neighbors
to honor her legacy by voting.
“No one can dispute the tower-
ing achievements of this judicial
giant and the value of adding her
likeness to the landscape of our
city,” Eric Adams, the Brooklyn
borough president, said in a state-
ment this week about the City
Point statue.
Justice Ginsburg was born in
Flatbush as Joan Ruth Bader on
March 15, 1933, the daughter of
Jewish immigrants. She lived on
the first floor of a two-story house
in the multiethnic Midwood neigh-
Her father owned small cloth-
ing stores. Her friends and family
called her Kiki. She attended P.S.
238 and was the editor of the
newspaper at James Madison
High School. She would attend

Cornell University in Ithaca, N.Y.,
where she studied government
and met Martin D. Ginsburg,
whom she married shortly after
Justice Ginsburg went to Har-
vard for law school but trans-
ferred to Columbia Law School af-
ter her husband got a job in New
York. She was the first woman to
become a tenured law professor at
As director of the Women’s
Rights Project of the American
Civil Liberties Union in the 1970s,
Justice Ginsburg brought a series
of cases before the Supreme Court
that helped put into place consti-
tutional protections against sex
In 1993, she became the second
woman to serve on the Supreme
Court and would become a cultur-
al icon.

Cuomo Moves Forward With Ginsburg Statue in Brooklyn


A vigil in Brooklyn last month for Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, who was a native of Flatbush.

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