Ex-Penn Professor: I Was Denied Tenure for Taking Child-Care Leave

Kristen Stromberg Childers says she was turned down for tenure by Penn because she took several leaves for child care. She's suing.

A former Penn history professor is suing the school for denying her tenure, Philly.com’s Emily Babay reports. Kristen Stromberg Childers alleges that the university denied her tenure because she took several leaves to take care of her children.

“I have been discriminated against as a mother, despite the fact that my family responsibilities had no negative impact on my teaching performance, scholarly productivity or service to the University,” Childers said in a press release.

Stromberg Childers applied for tenure in 2008 and 2010 but was turned down; the lawsuit says Penn’s grievance board found during an appeal that her time off for childcare was unfairly considered by those doing the tenure review process. The provost’s office turned down Stromberg Childers’s appeal in 2011.

“The absence of an explanation for the tenure denial, along with enthusiastic recommendations from experts in her field, suggest that Dr. Childers is a victim of bias against mothers,” an attorney for Childers said in the release. “Even though her leave was university-approved, she was marked as a woman who did not put a priority on her career.”