Plaintiff Tasha Kunzi says she was the victim of retaliation after ending a “romantic relationship” with Dr. Travis Pratt, a professor in ASU’s School of Criminology and Criminal Justice.
Originally published to Diverse Docket by Eric Freedman January 15, 2014
A former doctoral student’s sexual harassment, discrimination and retaliation case against Arizona State University can move forward, a federal judge has ruled.
The plaintiff, Tasha Kunzi, claims she was the victim of retaliation after ending a “romantic relationship” with Dr. Travis Pratt, a professor in ASU’s School of Criminology and Criminal Justice. After the break-up, Pratt harassed Kunzi, while other faculty members, including the school’s director, “refused to meaningfully work with her,” according to the suit.
In addition, university officials “failed to stop” the harassment, and Pratt, allegedly, continues to harass other female students.
Kunzi began a doctoral program in July 2009 and was hired by the school as a research assistant and faculty associate, according to the decision. She ended her romantic relationship with Pratt in February 2010, withdrew from the criminal justice doctoral program that July and enrolled in a different program, although she remained a criminal justice faculty associate.
In May 2011, Kunzi left the second doctoral program and her faculty associate position, allegedly because of the harassment.
The suit also claimed that Pratt and the school’s director discriminated against Kunzi’s new husband, another doctoral student, by unfairly grading the comprehensive exam that he failed.
U.S. District Judge James Teilborg denied ASU’s request to toss out parts of the suit, rejecting the university’s argument that some claims were filed after the statute of limitations ran out.
Teilborg said the facts as alleged would allow Kunzi to show a “systematic violation” of her rights through a hostile work environment.
Update: In April 2014, ASU spokeswoman Sharon Keeler provided the Phoenix New Times with the following statement:
“Professor Travis Pratt’s employment with the University ended February 14, 2014. He was dismissed for violation of university policy as well as violation of ASU’s Code of Ethics for faculty and the Standards of Professional Conduct for Faculty Members and Academic Professionals.”