Feminist Professor May Lose Job: Judge Refuses Injunction to Bar College from Retiring Her

By Billups, Andrea | The Washington Times (Washington, DC), May 26, 1999 | Go to article overview

Feminist Professor May Lose Job: Judge Refuses Injunction to Bar College from Retiring Her


Billups, Andrea, The Washington Times (Washington, DC)


Radical feminist Mary Daly, a theology professor and author who has refused for years to allow men to take her classes, may be out of a job for good at Boston College.

On Monday, a Superior Court judge in Middlesex County, Mass., ruled against Miss Daly's request for an emergency injunction that would have kept the college from declaring she was retired and distributing fall course catalogues that did not include the five classes she usually teaches. That decision, observers said, signals that Miss Daly's lawsuit against the college may be on shaky legal ground.

Miss Daly, 70, who has taught at the college for 30 years, has been absent from classes since January after she refused the school's demand that she teach a male student who had threatened to sue the school if he was not admitted to her undergraduate ethics course.

While some describe the tart-tongued professor as a trailblazer in the feminist movement, others call her views shocking. In addition to her women-only classes, Miss Daly advocates doing away with patriarchal religion because its structure is male-dominated and therefore abusive to women. That, she says, is immoral.

In December, when her department head told her she'd have to admit the male student, Miss Daly was granted a leave of absence while she weighed her options, her lawyer said, and she always planned to return. School officials say the outspoken professor agreed to retire, and they consider her often stormy chapter at the Massachusetts school closed.

She is suing the 14,500-student college for "breach of contract and constructive discharge" over her tenure rights. Her case is not expected to be heard until the summer of 2000, her attorney, Gretchen Van Ness, said. Miss Van Ness pledged to move forward with the case, which is being watched closely by other universities around the nation.

"It's so interesting to me that when a woman speaks out for women that she's labeled a man-hater," Miss Van Ness said. …

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