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Wiccan Professor Sues for Religious and Sex Discrimination

Pauline Hoffman, a professor of communications at St. Bonaventure University, alleges that she was not able to advance her career at the school because of her Wiccan religion and because she is a woman. Wiccan is described by Hoffman as “a very natural religion, very nature based.” Hoffman asserted that others viewed her religion as witchcraft, as Wiccans do “cast spells.”
In 2011, Hoffman alleges that she notified the university that “student journalists wanted to interview her about her Wiccan beliefs.” Soon after this disclosure, Hoffman says that she was asked to sign a “morals clause” committing to holding up the Roman Catholic values of the University. Hoffmann asked whether she would be required to sign if she were Jewish instead of Wiccan and was told: “I guess not.” Hoffman also alleges that she was told she might want to be more discreet about her religion and that she was the only non-Catholic required to sign the document.
In addition, Hoffman claims she received a shorter contract than the other male deans and made less money than her male counterparts. She also alleges that she was denied a promotion to provost, and she was pressured to resign her position as dean after the new provost was purportedly told to “solve the Pauline problem.” Hoffman filed a Charge of Discrimination with the EEOC and has filed her lawsuit in New York federal court.