Professor candidate claims WSU withdrew job offer after she said she was pregnant

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Professor candidate claims WSU withdrew job offer after she said she was pregnant

An Ohio women’s studies professor claims Wichita State officials offered her a job last year before retracting it when she disclosed she was pregnant.

Evangeline Heiliger, a 41-year-old visiting assistant professor at Oberlin College, is suing WSU for more than $75,000 in damages. WSU told The Wichita Eagle that an internal investigation predating the Dec. 26 lawsuit “didn’t conclude that the university violated the law.”

Heilinger alleges that she was offered an assistant professorship in women’s studies in a March 15 phone call with Chinyere Okafor, director of the Center for Women’s Studies. After hearing the offer, Heilinger says she told Okafor she was pregnant and inquired about campus childcare options.

Heilinger followed up with Okafor and then-department dean Ron Matson the next day in an email “expressing her excitement about starting the new position,” but when Matson responded, she says he told her “he had become aware that she was no longer available for the position and that they were removing her from consideration.”

Matson retired as dean of the Fairmount College of Liberal Arts and Sciences last June.

WSU general counsel David Moses denied Heilinger’s allegations in an emailed statement to The Eagle.

“The university remains committed to creating a fair and equitable workplace and does not discriminate in its employment practices,” Moses wrote.