Contact CU Independent News Reporter Carina Julig at Carina.Julig@colorado.edu.
Leeds School of Business Dean David Ikenberry resigned his post and will instead join the Leeds faculty, the University of Colorado announced in a newsletter on Tuesday.
Ikenberry, who has been involved in a gender discrimination lawsuit brought against the business school, served as Dean since 2011 and over the summer was reappointed to serve another five-year term before he declined the offer.
The controversy around Ikenberry has prompted discussion questioning whether Leeds has been equitable in its treatment of its female employees.
“As we look to the future, it is clear to me that the climate within Leeds needs to improve if it is to meet its full potential to be a top business school,” Ikenberry wrote in a letter to CU Provost Russell Moore. “To continue to grow and move forward, Leeds must have among its top priorities the need to strengthen its collegiality and culture, something which is at the heart and soul of any academic community.”
The Leeds school paid former female employee Robin Miglarese $40,000 in 2013 in exchange for her dropping a discrimination lawsuit against the school, according to documents provided to the Daily Camera this month.
Two other women, Lauren Ramsay and Tip-Arpar Karasudhi, later filed suit against Leeds. Ramsay was the faculty director of the Leeds Residential Academic Program, and claimed that she was removed from the role after complaining about discrimination in the college. Karasudhi, the school’s former budget and finance director, claimed that she was passed over for a promotion because she is an Asian female. Karasudhi’s case was dismissed in court and Ramsay’s is still pending. Both women have since resigned from the university.
According to the Daily Camera, the number of female employees who resigned from the business school grew from 2011 to 2014, with no equivalent increase from male employees. But in an email to former Assistant Dean of Administration Rick Johnson, one woman described working with Ikenberry as being “like a battered wives situation.”
Miglarese filed her suit due to hostile treatment from Ikenberry and Associate Dean Al Smith, according to the Daily Camera, stating that they discriminated against her for being female and repeatedly removed women from leadership positions. The settlement included the school hiring a coach to work with Ikenberry one-on-one on leadership issues. The dean’s office had no comment on the issue.
“I am hearing that overall, the climate at Leeds falls short of where it needs to be, particularly if we are to become a top business school which we aspire to be,” Ikenberry said in a memo sent out on Aug. 25. “Our goal is to embrace fully the principles of inclusive excellence that are a core priority for this campus and for our school … with regard to hiring, special attention will be given to issues of diversity and gender equity to assure that we inclusively engage applicants from all backgrounds as we look for the best talent to join Leeds.”
Moore gave the business school’s improved metrics under Ikenberry’s leadership as the reason for reappointing him, but said in the newsletter that he accepts and “admire[s]” the former dean’s decision to step down. Senior Vice Provost Bill Kaempfer will serve as interim dean while the school conducts a search for a permanent replacement.