Columbia University professor, Northwestern alumna files $20 million lawsuit against employer

Kelli Nguyen, Assistant Campus Editor

A Columbia University assistant professor who received her Ph.D. at Northwestern is suing Columbia for $20 million, alleging gender discrimination and sexual harassment.

Enrichetta Ravina (Graduate School ‘05) filed the lawsuit March 22, claiming the University failed to intervene when she reported sexual harassment by Columbia Prof. Geert Bekaert (Graduate School ’92) and instead retaliated against her.

The suit said that Ravina repeatedly reported Bekaert’s harassment to Columbia administrators who belittled her and dismissed her claims. It states Columbia also rushed Ravina’s tenure application process, forcing her to submit an insufficient application as part of a “sham tenure review” to deny her of the protected status.

Ravina’s claims were previously investigated by Columbia and rejected twice, Bekaert said in an emailed statement to the Daily. He said her stories are a falsified attempt to defame him.

“I am sickened that a colleague … would manufacture false stories, statements, and events and attempt to destroy my reputation,” Bekaert said in the statement. “I am confident that in the end Prof. Ravina’s statements will be shown to be completely baseless.”

In 2014, a Title IX investigation carried out by Columbia administrators concluded university policies had not been violated and that Ravina had flirted with Bekaert. Ravina told The Daily this was not true, citing the support she received from a majority of tenured faculty members who petitioned the University in protest.

This post was updated to include Bekaert’s status as an NU alum.

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