IRVINE (CBSLA) — A former University of California, Irvine official discriminated against women by paying them less than their male counterparts, according to school documents.
According to a review obtained by the Los Angeles Times, former UCI Vice Chancellor Thomas A. Pahram paid men more in positions for which women were paid less, or sometimes not paid at all.
That was the case for Tamara Austin, Director of the UCI Women’s Hub. She brought forward a complaint to the school’s Office of Equal Opportunity and Diversity, saying she was removed by Parham as the chairwoman for the school’s annual black leadership gala, a duty for which she was never paid, while the man who replaced her was getting paid.
The review said the result was “a discrepancy in pay between male and female employees who did the same work for planning the Gala,” according to the Times.
“You get to a point where you realize that you have been offended, and you have to demand change for yourself,” Austin told CBS2 News Friday. “Our mantra is that well-behaved women rarely make history.”
Additionally, Austin complained she was being paid less than male directors with like-sized staffs in the department of student affairs.
Three other women filed similar complaints.
Some students told CBS2 they were upset but not surprised by the news.
“A lot of the people in power tend to be male, and they don’t want this kind of information to be brought out into the public,” said Zenith Farin.
Parham is now the president of Cal State Dominguez Hills, but Austin said that’s no reason for the school ignore this issue.
“I am hoping that the university wants to do right by us, wants to do right by women and on campus,” Austin said, a sentiment echoed by her students.
“It just inspires me to know that, ‘OK, I know that this is happening, but I know that this isn’t what really defines me, and it’s not what’s gonna limit me,'” said Samantha Herrera.
Parham said that because the issue is being investigated, he couldn’t comment on specifics, but he did release a statement that read, in part, “I have a long-established track record of supporting women. I am disappointed by the claims in this report and I am confident that I did not act in a discriminatory manner.”