Former UO student loses her gender bias lawsuit

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EUGENE, Ore. — A former University of Oregon doctoral student has lost her gender bias lawsuit against the university.

A federal judge in Eugene ruled Thursday that Monica Emeldi hadn't provided enough evidence that sex discrimination and retaliation caused faculty to quit working with her, The Register-Guard reported.

The five-year case attracted national attention because the gender discrimination law known as Title IX was used in an academics case rather than athletics.

At the beginning of the lawsuit, a trial judge ruled Emeldi was not entitled to a trial, but an appeals court and then the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that she was.

A jury was seated Monday and heard Emeldi's case Tuesday and Wednesday. On Thursday, Judge Michael McShane ruled against her.

"Going all the way to the Supreme Court and winning and then coming back here and having the jury not even allowed to decide the case was pretty devastating," said her attorney, David Force of Eugene.

Emeldi is exhausted and hasn't decided whether to appeal, Force said.

She said she complained in a 2007 memorandum and in a meeting about discrimination in the UO College of Education. There weren't enough high-ranking female professors, she contended, and her adviser seemed to favor male students.

The university asserted that professor Robert Horner didn't get Emeldi's memo and didn't hear about her complaints against him before he resigned as her adviser. Without an adviser, she couldn't finish her doctoral degree.

The reason for his resignation was academic differences with Emeldi, and not retaliation, according to the university's filings.