Morales-Cruz v. Univ. of PR, No. 11-1589 (1st Cir. 2012)Annotate this Case
UPRLS hired plaintiff as an assistant professor, with possibility of tenure after five years. During her probation, plaintiff, with a male professor, worked in the school's Legal Aid Clinic. Plaintiff's co-teacher had a sexual relationship with a student, who became pregnant as a result. Near the end of her probation, plaintiff requested a one-year extension. The dean questioned plaintiff about her knowledge of the relationship between her co-teacher and the pregnant student and chastised her for failing to report. There was no internal regulation prohibiting student-teacher relationships or mandating reporting. The Dean recommended the extension, but added comments questioning her judgment and maturity. When plaintiff learned of these comments, she wrote to the Chancellor and others, denouncing the comments. The dean reversed his position. A committee was formed and voted to deny the extension. After obtaining a right-to-sue letter from the EEOC, plaintiff sued UPRLS and individuals, alleging gender-based discrimination and retaliation under the Civil Rights Act, 42 U.S.C. 2000e-2(a), 2000e-3(a). The district court dismissed. The First Circuit affirmed. The allegations did support a reasonable inference that plaintiff was engaging in protected conduct when she opposed the dean’s remarks or that defendants’ actions were based on gender.