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>America: You’re Still Discriminating As To Sex

>”Crude Oil” to:


Does sex discrimination exist in the 21st-century workplace? Some seem to argue that such is a thing of the past. Not so. Here is a site that investigates this issue.

Tuesday, November 07, 2006


by Ruth A. Tucker

—-Scroll down for “Women lose before Supreme Court (June 2007)”
—-Scroll down for “Thoughts on Race and Gender”
—-Scroll down for Testimonial of Stan Gundry

Since “My Calvin Seminary Story” went public, there has been much debate as to what sex discrimination actually is. The argument, in my case, seems to be that if a Calvin Seminary Board committee and mediators can’t find purposeful sex discrimination, then there is none.

It is difficult to find a precise legal definition of sex discrimination, but rarely is there evidence of sex discrimination that is obviously purposeful, as in: We gave Ruth Tucker a terminal appointment because she is a woman.

One of the reasons that sex discrimination is so insidious is because it is so universally denied. Denials typically work. But my situation is significant as a case study because it is so rich in documentation. It involves three male administrators who insist they have no gender bias. But the facts speak for themselves.

In 2000, I was hired as the first full-time woman faculty member at Calvin Theological Seminary, a small denominational school connected to the Christian Reformed Church. That I was the first woman in 125 years was a story significant enough to rate an article with my photo in the Grand Rapids PRESS. On January 2, 2003, with no warning, a new 3-man administraation removed me from tenure track and gave me a terminal appointment.

The reasons given for this singular action initially related to false claims of poor faculty and student evaluations. When these reasons were shown to be groundless, “ungodly conduct” and “defecits” and “deficiencies” were added. I insisted from the beginning that all documents related to my case be opened up. The administration refused, claiming “confidentiality.”

My position from the beginning until now has not changed. I maintain that if all my so-called “deficits” were added up, they do not exceed those of my colleagues. Indeed, I am absolutely convinced that an independent observer would rank me high alongside my all-male colleagues. Thus, my charge of sex discrimination. (If this is not a case of sex discrimination, then why was a highly qualified professor demoted and treated so badly?)

I love classroom teaching, especially when it is lively and interactive. A male Seminary Board member (evaluating me in January 2004 when I was kept off tenure track a second time) described my teaching style, both positively and negatively: “Dr. Tucker was warm and welcoming of the students. . . . She was able to engage students well. I got the impression that Dr. Tucker loves to talk about and debate various issues. I found this challenging, but I do wonder if some students might find this style a bit intimidating.”

I suppose I should appreciate the fact that a board member is concerned about my intimidating students. I have to wonder, however, if he would have said the same thing if I were male–like all my colleagues. Nevertheless, my students evaluated me well. My course evaluations for the very next quarter (summed up on a statistical overview that I received by mistake) showed that I was second highest of all the faculty evaluated.

There are so many facets of my story that it’s hard to easily summarize it. And it’s possible that sex discrimination was not the major motivation. But that I was the first and only full-time woman faculty member at the school in its 125-year history is very signigicant and that brings the matter of sex discriminaation to the fore whether one likes it or not.

Why was I uniquely singled out among all my male colleagues to be so harshly disciplined. In acadamia, short of being fired outright, nothing is worse that being removed from tenure track and given a terminal appointment.

This was done despite the fact that the majority of my colleagues supported reappointment without reservation. Likewise, I recieved very strong evaluations from the Seminary Board members who evaluated me (in both 2003 and 2004), and the Student Senate supported my reappointment.

What is most significanat about this reappointment process is that the Seminary administration carried out a hatchet job without supporting evidence. Indeed, it was one of the 3 administrators who gave me a damning evaluation that was quoted at length to justify my being given a terminal appointment. His was one of two evaluations by “colleagues” that did not support my reappointment.

If one of the administrators submitted an evaluation for me (as he admitted in the mediation process), I surely do not assume that the other 2 administrators did not submit evaluations as well. So, the question that I’ve never had answered is: Were the 2 evaluations against my reappointment BOTH made by administrators? (And the biggest question of all: Why are administrators submitting “faculty” evaluations in the first place?)

Whatever the answers are, the bottom line is that I was given a terminal appointment by 3 new administrators who broke every rule of due process. That is precisely why they have insisted on “confidentiality” whenever I have asked that all the documents pertaining to this matter be opened up.

The seminary is closely tied with Calvin College and both institutions publish their compliance with the law regarding sex discrimination. See below for Calvin’s nondiscriminatory policy.

“Women lose before Supreme Court (June 2007)”

From TIME Magazine (June 18, 2007, p. 56): “The Justices recently decided 5 to 4 that workers are out of luck if they file a complaint under Title VII–the main federal antidiscrimination law–more than 180 days after their salary is set. That’s six measly months to find out what your co-workers are making so that you can tell whether you’re getting chiseled because of your sex, race, religion or national origin.”

In my brief consultation on three occasions with attorneys, I was told that I’d missed the 180-day time limitation. Such limitations severely handicap woman and others who are already working in hostile environments. Had I filed a suit within the 180-day limitation, I knew that any hope of reconciliation would be shattered. I would be without a job and before a court that is not known for being supportive of women in the workplace.

So for those who say rather sarcasticly, Why didn’t you sue, the answer isn’t so easy.


One of the most often-repeated denials at Calvin Seminary is that there is no sex discrimination at the school. AND, surely not among the three administrators who have all been on record as opposed to sex discrimination.

That the administrators are not tainted with any gender bias is simply assumed by most people who read or listen to their “pro-women” statements. They assume that if there is no proof of obvious sex discrimination, then there is none. But we should be very cautious about making such assumptions. I have been surprised in several instances to receive comments from men who have stated that my story has made them contemplate their own gender bias. That is the first step in seeking to overcome such bias.

The same is true of racism. A few years ago one of my seminary colleagues attended a seminar on racism. He came back very irritated by some of the presentations and insisted that he had absolutely no race bias. Yet, he was very much a part of a seminary system that has excluded African Americans from administrative, faculty, and staff positions. Not obviously so. But just as there has been no full-time women on the faculty (until I came), there have been no African Americans. By their very absence, the school is guilty of systemic racism. And this colleague who denied any race bias, I believe, was deceiving himself and others. 

I know that I am not free of racism. But by being ever conscious of the racism that is unconscious, I seek to become less racist than I am. I’ve lived in an integrated neighborhood for nearly 30 years and my son went through public schools where the majority of students were minorities. Race has been a part of my life for decades. I cringed when my 17-year-old son told how he was verbally abused as a “nigger-lover” when he was seen at a movie or fast-food joint with a black neighbor girl. It hurt him and how much worse must she have felt? Because of such experiences I am very conscious of race issues and I seek to bring race balance to my writing and teaching. But that certainly doesn’t mean that I’m not infected with racism.

This past year there was a problem with a giant dead tree across the alley just behind my garage. Huge limbs were falling off and it looked as though the tree could come down any day. Neighbors and I called the city for months but it seemed to take forever before it was finally removed–at the expense of the neighbor across the alley in whose yard the tree stood. I was upset about the situation, and on one occasion I caught myself with racist thoughts. Fortunately, I caught myself, and my thoughts stopped dead in their tracks (though not necessarily never to return). The fact of the matter is that the failure to remove the dangerous tree had nothing to do with the owner’s race. Yet, I momentarily thought those thoughts—–and I repented.

When I was teaching a seminaray course last year with a segment on racism, I opened the the all-white class session by saying: “There is racism in this school.” I paused just listening to the silence. Then I said: “There is racism in this room.” By now I really had the attention of the twenty or so students. I just stood there leaning out at them over my podium and waited as the silence ticked away. And then I said: “I know there is racism in this classroom because I am here.” I talked about myself, and then some of the students opened up about their own racism.

I wonder if there will ever be anybody at Calvin Theological Seminary who will come forward and say to me (like men outside the school have said): “Yes, I’m infected with gender bias and I want to hear your sex discrimination complaints.” The question is: Will Calvin Seminary ever take such a first step toward gender reconciliation as to admit that there is sexism at the school–institutionally and personally? I will report it here if it happens.

Unconscious Sex Discrimination

Stan Gundry (Zondervan publisher and former church history professor) has published online a fascinating story:

From Bobbed Hair, Bossy Wives, and Women Preachers to Woman Be Free: My Story

This story tells long journey in becoming an egalitarian–a journey often impeded by fear, above all, “fear of being taught by a woman, or worse yet, fear of admitting I had been taught by a woman, my wife.”

He testifies how the residual effects of sex discrimination continued after he should have been rid of such. Thanks, Stan, for an open and honest story, including this paragraph that continues your thoughts on fear: 

“This last fear was the most pernicious and enduring of all. I remember with great shame an episode in the early 1980s, well after I had become an egalitarian, indeed after I had been forced to resign from the Moody faculty for supporting my wife’s egalitarian views as expressed in Woman Be Free. I had been invited to Houghton College to debate the women’s issue with a gentleman who held the traditional hierarchical view. Even back then I normally refused to engage in point by point argumentation of the issues. I simply told the story of how I had become an egalitarian and what I had found compelling that changed my mind, but with one huge omission and distortion. I failed to acknowledge Pat’s key, indeed pivotal part in my journey to biblical egalitarianism. Why? Fear. So I want to say with unambiguous clarity now, Pat started me on this journey and was my teacher along the way.”

Calvin’s Nondiscriminatory Policy

Calvin College does not discriminate with regard to age, race, color, national origin, sex, or disability in any of its education programs or opportunities, employment, or other activities. Questions pertaining to Title IX, which prohibits discrimination based on sex . . . may be directed to the Director of Admissions. 

The government site it helpful:

From a website: The University of California Santa Cruz:

What is sex discrimination?

It is unlawful and violates UCSC policy to discriminate against any academic or non-academic employee or any student because of her/his sex.

For students this prohibition covers any academic program, student service, any benefit or opportunity provided by UCSC and student employment.

For employees this prohibition covers hiring, termination, promotion, compensation, job training, or any other term, condition, or privilege of employment.

The law also prohibits academic or employment decisions based on stereotypes and assumptions about abilities, traits, or the performance of individuals on the basis of sex.

The law and policy prohibit both intentional discrimination and neutral job or academic policies that disproportionately exclude individuals on the basis of sex and that are not job related.


It is my desire to publish my story along with the stories of other women who have faced sex discrimination. This site is incomplete. I will be posting more on my own story and including stories of others.

Seminary loses discrimination ruling

The Lutheran, Jun 2000 by Elizabeth Hunter

A candidate for a 1995 faculty position at the Lutheran Seminary lat Gettysburg (Pa.) was discrimmated against because of her gender, said a regional office of the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission in a March 31 ruling.

Calling the decision an “unfortunate” reversal from an April 26, 1999, ruling in which “the EEOC found there was no basis for [the] charge,” Norma Wood, seminary dean, said the school was “profoundly disappointed.”

The new EEOC ruling says a review of the resumes of both the female candidate, Lauve Steenhuisen, a professor at Georgetown University, Washington, D.C., and the successful candidate, a white male, “clearly shows that [Steenhuisen] was more qualified than the successful candidate,” who “failed to meet the requirements and who had little relevant experience.”

Steenhuisen’s attorney,Victoria Toensing, said EEOC officials determined that Darrold Beekmann, who is retiring this summer as seminary president, hired the male candidate despite opposing votes by faculty and student committees. “We are disappointed that [seminary officials] have refused to discuss any settlement of this case and have been in denial about their sex discrimination,” Toensing said.

John Spangler, Gettysburg’s director of communications, said it was “erroneous to report that the seminary has been unresponsive.” He said the president recommends a candidate, but the board of directors makes the final decision. “Neither the search committee nor the faculty at any time supported Dr. Steenhuisen’s candidacy. In fact, Dr. Steenhuisen lacked a major qualification… the master of divinity or master’s in theology or its equivalent,” Spangler said.

“[Gettysburg] hired a highly qualified teacher for the position sought by Dr. Steenhuisen,” Wood said. “We believe [she] was treated fairly. … We have done nothing wrong. We intend to continue to vigorously defend the seminary before the EEOC and, if necessary, in the courts.”

Elizabeth Hunter
Copyright Evangelical Lutheran Church in America Jun 2000

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Ruth A. Tucker, Ph.D.

Ruth A. Tucker, Ph.D. 

My Sites

My CTS Story

I began teaching at Calvin Theological Seminary in 2000–the first full-time woman professor in the school’s 125-year history. In 2003, less than 3 months after Cornelius Plantinga, Jr. was installed as the new president, I was, without warning, removed from tenure track and given a terminal appointment. I have repeatedly asked that all the evidence be opened only to be blocked by a dishonest cover-up. When independent mediators were retained by the seminary board in 2005, they called for “retroactive pay to 2003,” among other things. That report was buried. I finished my second terminal appointment on August 31, 2006, and shortly thereafter published my story at

My Amazon Review: Sex Discrimination in the Workplace

What a fantastic resource this is for working women. For women who confront sex discrimination this is a must read. I wish it had been available for me when I was derailed from my teaching career (“My Calvin Seminary Story”). The case studies alone are worth the (hefty) price of the book. I particularly like their definition of sex discrimination: “In the broadest sense, sex discrimination occurs when a person is or people are treated unfairly in the work context because of gender. Unfair treatment can concern levels of compensation. . . . [But it] can also occur in terms of non-monetary rewards, in terms of opportunities, and in terms of on-the-job treatment.” This is a book for every college and public library.

My Amazon Review: Bad Leadership

This is a must for people working in Christian organizations and for laypeople in churches. There is bad leadership in the church and it often looks a lot like good leadership. Kellerman writes about the “recent revelations of wrongdoing by leaders of the Roman Catholic Church . . . that was so abhorrent it makes us all ill.” She continues: “the idea that some leaders and some followers are bad, and that they might have something in common with good leaders and followers, has not fully penetrated the conversation or the curriculum” [of leadership training]. Her book is aptly titled for my situation (“My Calvin Seminary Story”) where poor leadership derailed my career.

>Huge Ethnic Disparities In American Health Care

>Perhaps one of the reasons for the disparities in American Health Care is that this is a nation of all nationalities and ethnic backgrounds. When people come to America the first thing they should do is learn English. Failure to do so has created huge communication walls that often are looked at by outsiders as failures in the American health care system, when all they are is failures of our immigration system in that people were not told or taught that they needed to learn to speak English and, thus, have held onto their old languages.

English speaking skills should become one of the requirements to get into the country on a visa, not just to become a citizen. Our immigration people have failed badly in this important area, at the detriment of those fleeing, or coming, to America.

One of the biggest areas of concern for this today is the Latino populations that have swarmed into California, Arizona, and Texas from Mexico and below, mostly illegally. Greater understanding of the entire problem is not the goal of the article below, but how our system seems to let down those in need the most, the ones who cannot communicate. Don White

Healing the Health Care Wounds
by Manny Frishberg, ColorsNW 4/20/2009

Last week, the ColorsNW article Not All Health Care is Created Equal examined the overwhelming ethnic disparities in the American health care systems. This week, we will explore some of the ways the health care community is combating these disparities to bring balance to the U.S. health system.

At times, those who are working to fix the disparities in the American health care system may feel like they are tilting at windmills. The problem has so many faces and there are no one-size-fits-all answers. While teasing out the reasons for health disparities among ethnic groups is complex, finding the solutions to fix the problems may be an even more intractable issue.

To be sure, the problem of unequal health care in America is daunting. For example, African American children are more likely than White children of comparable economic conditions to have asthma, seek help from the emergency room and receive the latest asthma treatments. And, pharmacies in poorer neighborhoods are less likely to stock the variety and amounts of pain medications needed, which often leads the residents – whatever their race – to live with chronic pain.

Facts such as these highlight the critical need for further research into the reasons and remedies for these disparities. For the moment, at least, the problem seems to be getting the attention it deserves. One aspect of this is finding ways to improve the U.S. health care delivery system, which consists of the combined network of doctor offices, hospitals and clinics that people visit for their health care. How, when and where this care is accessed depends on a range of factors, from insurance coverage to how well the center’s staff communicates with its patients.

Improving Cultural Competency
Too often, health care providers do not understand the cultural, social, psychological, racial and religious influences on a patient’s behaviors. For example, a Muslim patient may refuse to take medicine delivered via gel caps because gelatin is a pork by-product, a food that is against the Muslim religion. Because of the cultural barriers, many health care providers are likely to view this patient as being uncooperative. Indigenous beliefs and remedies may also play a large role in which treatments a patient decides to accept.

“Many health care disparities are due to a lack of cultural awareness on the part of
doctors and nurses,” explains Michael Soon Lee, the author of Cross-Cultural Selling for Dummies and a new American Medical Association book on cultural competence for doctors. “They may not understand how cultures differentiate between disease and illness, folk remedies versus American cures, individual versus group decision-making, how to interview multicultural patients, nonverbal communication cues, end and beginning of life issues and so much more.”
As a result, medical professionals must receive adequate training to understand how to overcome these barriers. There also needs to be a concerted effort to address issues of provider bias. Whether intentional or not, doctors, on the whole, are less likely to discuss healthy behavior changes with patients from lower income groups.

Additionally, health professionals need to learn more about which communities are more susceptible to particular diseases and what the beliefs are surrounding these diseases. Jeff Caballero, executive director of the Association of Asian Pacific Community Health Organizations, cites Hepatitis B as a good example. Because the infection is passed by blood to blood contact, it is classed as a sexually transmitted disease, even though childbirth is the primary method of transmission. While Hep B can be prevented with a vaccine, in the API communities there is a strong taboo against discussing sex openly. Additionally, the treatment requires three doses, a
large barrier for many patients who are unable to return to the doctor. Cabellero explains “clinics that are more proficient in terms of care providers working with those communities may be able to provide just one vaccination. These [health centers also] have higher rates of completion of all three shots.”

Those most severely affected by the virus are recent immigrants from China, Vietnam, Korea, the Philippines and the Marshall Islands who are, according to Cabellero, “either a limited-English proficient individual or someone from a culture who is just not really familiar enough or sophisticated enough to navigate the health care system here in the country.” “Even if they say, ‘I treat all my patients the same,’ that’s not necessarily a good thing because all your patients are not the same,” says Diane Giese, director of communication and development for the Puget Sound Health Alliance, one organization around the nation funded by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) to look at the different pieces of the health disparity puzzle.

“But, there are so many facets to this and so many angles, where do you start?” she asks. “The RWJ funding is allowing us to work on a program to answer that question, too.”

A Multi-Faceted Attack
While some progress has been made – such as federal mandates that hospitals must
provide culturally and linguistically appropriate care – actually getting to the point where the disparities in health care are at last eliminated requires attacking the problem on several fronts at the same time. Delivering culturally-appropriate treatments, developing individual disease prevention and health promotion messages, as well as providing care in a language the patient understands is crucial. Reforms also need to be made to social policies, health care worker education and how research is conducted so that more ethnic groups, people of both sexes and different age groups are represented in the final data.

One important aspect of the issue is increasing workforce diversity, which is well
documented in the hundreds of studies on health disparities published in the medical literature every year. “The cadre of people who provides health care needs to become more diverse, so that doctors and nurses looks more like the increasingly multicultural populations they are treating,” Giese says.

Giese says one part of what her group is looking into who is getting good care and where they are finding it. “We do these performance reports comparing the quality of care provided in doctor offices and hospitals. There’s all sorts of national data and observations, but we’re saying, ‘Okay, how’s it working in the Puget Sound area?’ What’s happening locally?” she explains. “How does it work for people in South Seattle, for people in Highpoint, in Sultan in Snohomish County, in eastern Pierce County? How do we build the foundation of actually changing things in the local area?”

The ways to achieve this goal are far from obvious. While projections estimate more than half the country’s population will be people of color by the middle of this century, attendance at medical schools and nursing programs has hardly changed during the past 30 years. Latinos are now more than 13 percent of the population, yet they account for less than one in 25 doctors currently practicing medicine. And, in the 2003-04 school year, they made up just 7 percent of first-year medical students and less than 6 percent of graduates. The numbers are similarly dreadful for African-Americans and even worse for Native-American med students.

One contributing factor to this situation is the legal climate during the past eight years as the appointment of judges to the federal bench who are skeptical of affirmative action policies has increased. Between 1995 and 2001, there were dramatic decreases in medical school enrollment by students of color in states where court challenges or initiatives like Washington’s I-200 have succeeded. In Mississippi alone, the number declined by more than two-thirds.
Learning from the experience of medical facilities that have been able to show some real improvements in those areas, such as Childrens Hospital in Seattle, has been a real help, she says. “Children’s Hospital has been in this cultural competency and literacy program. We are trying to really understand what it is they did to change the culture of care in terms of, well everything, from how the staff interacts with patients to what support tools they use.

We can turn around and work with other providers in the community, whether or not they’re in the heart of a diverse population.” How people receive information about health and medicine is another crucial aspect. There is a somewhat naïve belief that with the explosion of information on the Internet, that part of the problem might take care of itself. Instead, communities of color and poor people in general have found themselves on the wrong side of the digital divide. The National Cancer Institute’s Digital Divide Project is one of several programs looking at ways to help underserved populations find and use health information so they can make
informed decisions.

Other issues beyond the scope of the health care system are also waiting to be addressed. Those include the fact that people of color, especially new immigrant groups, are concentrated in hazardous jobs have high rates of workplace injuries, such as meat packing and construction, or jobs that require long hours of heavy lifting, such as waiting tables and home health care.

Low-income communities also often have the dirtiest environments because they lack the political clout to avoid having polluting projects, such as garbage incinerators, located nearby. A large proportion of people subjected to these disparities are ethnic minorities. Some studies have suggested that cancer risks associated with toxins in the air were highest in more segregated metropolitan areas. The key to improving the health care of the various ethnic populations is any effort that maintains and improves the health of the nation as a whole. That means finding and implementing effective strategies to reduce and eliminate the health disparities that continue to plague us today. Until the problems of poverty and racism are finally put to rest, the fight against health disparities is not likely to be won.

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>Catholics Recognize How Gays Discriminate Against Mormons

>Quote of the Day
“We have been especially troubled by the reports of explicit and direct targeting of your church personnel and facilities as the objects of hostility and abuse. We pray that prudence and healing may prevail.”

— Letter from the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops to LDS Church President Thomas Monson, offering “prayerful support and steadfast solidarity” with the LDS Church in regard to Proposition 8 criticism (Tribune).

Bonus Quote
“My fellow Americans: Over 350 years ago, a small band of Pilgrims, after gathering in their first harvest at Plymouth Colony, invited their friends and neighbors, who were Indians, to join them in a feast of thanksgiving. Together they sat around their bountiful table and bowed their heads in gratitude to the Lord for all that He had bestowed upon them. This week, so many years later, we, too, will gather with family and friends and, after saying grace, carve up a turkey, pass around the cranberries and dressing, and later share slices of pumpkin pie. We Americans have so much for which to be thankful. … We will give thanks for these and one thing more: our freedom. Yes, in America, freedom seems like the air around us: It’s there; it’s sweet, though we rarely give it a thought. Yet as the air fills our lungs, freedom fills our souls. It gives breath to our laughter and joy. It gives voice to our songs. It gives us strength as we race for our dreams. … Yes, as we gather together this Thanksgiving to ask the Lord’s blessings, as we of whatever faith we are give praises to His name, let us thank Him for our peace, prosperity, and freedom. Happy Thanksgiving!”

Ronald Reagan (Reagan 2020.US)