A professor who was sacked by administrators at a small evangelical Christian college in Oregon because she became pregnant out of wedlock has responded by suing the school for $650,000.
The professor currently out of a job is Coty Richardson.
The defendant in Richardson’s lawsuit is Northwest Christian University, a private, 700-student school in Eugene, Ore.
Richardson’s attorneys filed her lawsuit earlier this week, reports The Register-Guard, the main daily newspaper out of Eugene.
In her lawsuit, Richardson, 35, claims that she informed officials at Northwest Christian of her pregnancy in May.
School officials told her she had to marry the father right away or else dump the unborn child’s father and declare the pregnancy an error, the lawsuit contends.
Richardson, already a mother of two, and the unidentified boyfriend have been together for 12 years, the suit says.
The now-fired professor chose neither choice offered by school officials, she said. Instead, she asked for personal privacy.
And thus, in late July, Northwest Christian administrators fired Richardson via a letter from Dennis Lindsay, the vice president for academic affairs. According to the lawsuit, the letter stated that “sexual relations outside of marriage is contrary to the university’s core values.”
In a previous missive, Lindsay explained that “having a child out of wedlock while still continuing a relationship with the father” sets “a bad example” for the fully grown, adult students who attend Northwest Christian.
In her lawsuit, Richardson alleges that Northwest Christian has not fired male employees who have fathered children out of wedlock, according to Courthouse News Service.
Richardson is suing for lost wages, pregnancy discrimination, marital status discrimination, religious discrimination, repudiation of contract and a handful of other causes of action.
She seeks $150,000 in economic losses and $500,000 for non-economic damages including emotional distress.
According to the Northwest Christian student handbook, “the university expects that non-married students will not engage in sexual intercourse.” Spending the night in a dorm room inhabited by a member of the opposite sex is not allowed.
Additionally, alcohol and tobacco are forbidden on campus. “Mooning, ‘streaking’ and public urination” are verboten. “Prolonged displays of physical affection” are “not considered appropriate.” And absolute no pornography of any kind.
The NCU website states that faculty members must demonstrate “a maturing Christian faith,” notes The Register-Guard.
Richardson’s lawsuit declares that her Christian faith is “incredibly important to her.”
A cached version of Richardson’s faculty page shows that she taught biomechanics, human kinetics, nutrition and other exercise science courses. She had been on the faculty since 2011.
The ex-professor holds a master’s degree from A.T. Still University, an osteopathic medical school in Missouri, and a bachelor’s degree from Oregon State University.
Richardson’s lawsuit is similar in many ways to be a lawsuit filed in 2013 by a Teri James, a financial aid specialist at San Diego Christian College who alleged that school officials fired her because she became pregnant after engaging in premarital sex. RELATED: Casting The First Stone: Christian College Fires Pregnant Woman For Premarital Sex)
Famed feminist attorney Gloria Allred has represented James in her suit.