Rutgers professors in pay inequity suit speak out

Three of the five female plaintiffs who filed a lawsuit this week against Rutgers University over pay inequity participated in a virtual press conference Oct. 15.

Here are some of their comments:

Professor Deepa Kumar: “I will say that I started with a good salary — higher, in fact, than several of these colleagues because I had four years of seniority, having taught at Wake Forest University before coming here to Rutgers. However, in slightly over a decade, I had fallen to the lowest paid in this cohort.

“I am a plaintiff in this lawsuit because I don’t want to see others go through what I have gone through. In my time as an officer of this union, I have attempted to help many colleagues — not coincidentally, mostly women, but some men, too — with similar pay equity struggles. I can speak both for them and myself when I say that it is distressing, humiliating and frustrating to be paid and valued less because of gender or a combination of gender and race factors.”

Professor Nancy Wolff: “I believe that gaming the system should not be the way to achieve salary equity with our male peers. More to the point, I have remained loyal to Rutgers over the years in part because I value my students and colleagues here. I value the research environment, I value my connections to the community, and I value the staff of the research centers that I have directed and currently direct. I have served Rutgers proudly and earnestly during my tenure, even when I knew that my contributions were undervalued and ignored.”

Professor Judith Storch: “I am not a litigious person, to put it mildly — and in fact, this is all very knew and, frankly, quite uncomfortable for me. I nevertheless come forward because I believe that this is the right thing to do.”