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Indian-Origin Professor Sues US College Over Gender & Racial Discrimination

"Babson favors white and male faculty and reserves awards and privileges for them," Lakshmi Balachandra alleged.

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South Asians
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Lakshmi Balachandra, an Indian-origin associate professor of entrepreneurship at Babson College in Massachusetts, United States, has filed a lawsuit against the private business school, alleging gender and racial discrimination.

In a complaint filed in a US District Court in Boston on 27 February, Balachandra alleged, "Babson favors white and male faculty and predominantly reserves awards and privileges for them," reported The Boston Globe.

According to the publication, Balachandra said she lost career opportunities and faced economic and emotional distress because of the mistreatment – and that the college administration ignored her complaints.

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What Does the Lawsuit Say?

Balachandra, who joined Babson in 2012 and earned tenure seven years later, alleged in her lawsuit that Andrew Corbett, a professor and former chair of the college's entrepreneurship division, was the primary perpetrator of the "discriminatory work environment."

Corbett was in charge of overseeing teaching assignments, class schedules, and annual reviews.

Balachandra accused Corbett of willfully denying her leadership positions and opportunities despite her vast research experience. She also claimed he often lost her temper with not just her, but other women faculty of the department.

In one of his annual reviews, Corbett also wrote that Balachandra was "not a great teacher," which the latter claimed was a biased statement. The lawsuit alleged that in 2019, he also denied Balachandra's requests to reschedule a class for child care.

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But despite raising formal concerns at the business school and filing a complaint against discrimination with the Massachusetts Commission Against Discrimination, nothing was done to address the situation, she alleged.

Responding to the complaint, a spokesperson at Babson College said, "Babson takes concerns or complaints seriously and has well-established protocols and resources in place to thoroughly investigate and address them. We look forward to addressing this through the legal process."

Who Is Lakshmi Balachandra?

Before joining Babson College, Balachandra was a visiting assistant professor of entrepreneurship at Northeastern University in Boston, and a lecturer at the MIT Sloan School of Management and the Harvard Extension School.

She has enormous experience in the field of gender and entrepreneurship, and was a co-author of the Diana Report, 2014 – a comprehensive analysis of venture capital investments in women entrepreneurs since 1999.

Balachandra has also been a fellow with the Women and Public Policy Program at the Harvard Kennedy School of Government, which focuses on the impact of gender biases on women entrepreneurs.

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