The University of Kentucky has settled the religious discrimination suit brought by astronomer Martin Gaskell, who claimed he was denied a job for which he was highly qualified because of his Christian beliefs. One search committee member, for example, had described him as “potentially evangelical.” Gaskell accepted a settlement of $125,000. The university did not admit wrongdoing. The issue, which has attracted national attention, had been scheduled to come to trial in federal court on February 8.
According to Gaskell’s attorney, Francis Manion, as quoted in the Louisville Courier-Journal, the sum compensates Gaskell for the income he would have earned as founding director of the university’s new observatory. Manion declared Gaskell “happy with the settlement” because he was “not looking for anything other than to to cover his financial losses.” Gaskell has meanwhile accepted a position at the University of Valparaiso in Chile. The university defended its hiring process as “fundamentally sound” and noted that the “lengthy trial” that would have occurred “would not have served anybody’s best interests.” One suspects it especially would not have served the interests of the university’s reputation.