Skip to Content

Beryl Lieff Benderly

University of Kentucky Settles Religious Discrimination Suit

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.

3 comments on “University of Kentucky Settles Religious Discrimination Suit”

  1. Dean from Ohio says:

    In addition to being biased blowhards, they have profited nothing from their encounter with the truth. As Talleyrand said of the French kings, “They have learned nothing and forgotten nothing.” All the KU cockroaches that scattered in the light can now go on about their business of indoctrinating America’s youth and preening themselves. Disgusting.

  2. Roma says:

    Even as an atheist I am a little distrubed by the the school’s behaviour on this issue. There are some, very few though, hard-science professionals out there who manage to keep their faith in some degree or another but are also capable of seperating their private life and their professional life. Only way I would agree ont he schools grounds would have been if they had evidence that Mr. Gaskell had been unable to perform the expected duties of carrying out rigourous science and teaching science in previous positions. And if you have ever been to college, at least a respectable one, no one there indoctrinates anyone. Prehaps to question the world, which is what an educated person, but never told what to think. Doubt and questioning is the road to knowledge.

  3. Dawn says:

    Roma, as an atheist you may not understand the implications behind “potentially evangelical.” This is not about his Christian beliefs. Evangelical means you SHARE your beliefs, actively, EVANGELLICALLY everywhere. Even in the classroom. Even in your lab. If the search committee had a sense that he was “evangelical” that’s probably because he was open about it in the interviews. A publicly-funded university is no place for using your status as a faculty member, teacher, and mentor to lead souls to Jesus. The University of Kentucky (KU is the abbreviation for Kentucky Utilities, the electric company, btw) made the right choice here. The deftly avoided having subsequent potential lawsuits resulting from his potential evangelicism by paying him about 1.5 years’ salary (not including benefits).

Comments are closed.