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California University OKs $175K settlement to professor

| Tuesday, Aug. 21, 2012, 12:01 a.m.

A professor at California University of Pennsylvania who claims she was denied promotions and was sexually harassed will receive $175,000 from the university, according to a settlement obtained by the Tribune-Review under the state's Right to Know Law.

Dr. Linda Toth, a psychology professor, filed suit in 2009 claiming that she was denied promotions twice and was sexually harassed when she appealed the denial personally to former university president Angelo Armenti, who held and stroked her hand during a meeting, according to the suit.

Cal U will pay $175,000 for attorneys' fees and Toth's compensatory damages, including emotional distress and reputation loss. If Toth applies for another promotion and earns the necessary scores, she will be promoted, according to the agreement.

Christine Kindl, spokeswoman for the university, declined to comment.

In an email sent on Monday, Armenti declined to comment because he said he had not seen the agreement.

Toth signed the agreement on June 30. Acting President Geraldine Jones signed it on July 30. The agreement went into effect Aug. 15.

If the suit had gone to trial, court records indicate testimony would have exposed the university's management and internal politics in regard to Armenti's firing of several female administrators without reason. The university was forced to pay more than $400,000 in settlement agreements to the women, court records show.

Toth, who was president of the faculty union, was hired as a psychology professor in 1990. She received tenure in 2003 and first applied for promotion from associate to full professor in 2005. Even though a department committee recommended her promotion, it was denied by Armenti the following year, according to the suit.

Amanda Dolasinski is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 724-836-6220 or adolasinski@tribweb.com.

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