West Point woman alleges ageism, sexism


Andrew Hazzard



A West Point woman claims she was wrongfully passed up for employment at a local community college based on her age and gender.  


Ruth Strickland, 54, has filed a federal lawsuit against East Mississippi Community College.  


Strickland is an architect who has spent 17 years as a professional drafter and has taught drafting for 15 years, according to the suit. She alleges she was twice passed over for a position as a drafting instructor at EMCC in favor of younger male candidates who she alleges had insufficient experience.  


Strickland has a teaching certificate from the state of Mississippi with endorsements in general drafting and architecture and drafting. She also has a certificate of competence from the National Occupational Competency Testing Institute in architectural drafting, according to the suit.  


Strickland claims she first applied for a drafting instructor position in 2010. She claims she was rejected and passed over for a man in his 20s.  


In 2014, Strickland again applied at EMCC, this time to teach architectural drafting, which she is certified in according to documents attached to the lawsuit. This time, the suit claims the job was given to a man in this 30s, who the suit alleges had insufficient experience to qualify for the job.  


Strickland alleges EMCC rated the male candidates over her based on "subjective categories." In the suit, Strickland admits to not having certain skills that the younger candidates possessed.  


"It is true the plaintiff did not know how to create a 3D model on the software, since this was not taught when the Plaintiff attended school, but came to be an area that was taught in recent years," the suit states. "Utilizing such a factor tended to discriminate on grounds of age." 


The suit alleges that Strickland is entitled to damages, but does not state a particular amount sought. She is being represented by Tupelo lawyer Jim Waide, who could not be reached by press time.  


EMCC attorney Bob Marshall declined to comment on the case, citing school policy on pending litigation.




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