In the settlement, CUNY has agreed to adopt a new university-wide policy addressing the rights of pregnant and parenting students under Title IX, publish and disseminate that policy to its faculty, conduct training so that faculty members understand their obligations, and include the policy in the student handbook. CUNY also agreed to reinstate Stewart’s full-tuition scholarship and reimburse her for expenses she incurred taking an extra course this semester in order to graduate on time. The settlement will protect the rights of tens of thousands of parents and pregnant students in this sprawling New York City college system.
The entire CUNY system—spanning all five boroughs of New York City—has over 269,000 students this year. Women account for 58.4 percent of that student population, while approximately 15 percent of the student body are parents. But the national dropout rates among pregnant and parenting students are stark: 61 percent of women who have children after enrolling in community college do not graduate. This number is 65 percent higher than for women who do not have children while in college.
The second settlement involved claims between Tallahassee Memorial Hospital and Amy Crosby, a 30-year-old pregnant hospital cleaner in Tallahassee, Florida. NWLC filed a complaint last month with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) on Crosby’s behalf after Crosby was forced to take unpaid leave when the hospital refused to accommodate her doctor’s request that she not lift more than 20 pounds because of her pregnancy.
“We are encouraged that the hospital and Amy Crosby have been able to resolve this matter,” Emily Martin, NWLC vice president and general counsel, said in a statement. “While the specific terms of the agreement are confidential, we are very pleased that as a result of their cooperation, Amy will be able to continue to work at the hospital. But it’s important to take note of the countless other pregnant women across the country—especially those working in low-wage jobs—who face discrimination on the job when they simply need a small adjustment or accommodation that would allow them to keep working. These women are often forced out on unpaid leave or simply fired, at the very moment they’re relying on their income and job security.”