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Gender discrimination alleged at University of Wisconsin

Six women have resigned from the campus admissions office at the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire in a little more than a year. The latest to leave says in a gender discrimination complaint that her departure is a result of the hostile work environment created by a vice chancellor at the school.

Angie Swenson-Holzinger told Wisconsin Public Radio that she resigned as associate director of advising because of the disparaging remarks made about her and other women on campus by Vice Chancellor of Enrollment Services Albert Colom.

Swenson-Holzinger said that Colom gave her the "impossible task" of ranking academic advisors from best to worst and then criticized her as weak when she explained to him why the assignment was fundamentally flawed.

Swenson-Holzinger also told WPR that she frequently heard Colom disparaging female university staff but never heard him make similar critiques of men.

She said that her "only goal" in making the complaint "is to protect those who are left." She wrote in her complaint that she doesn't "want there to be a seventh and an eighth and a ninth person that has to resign because they can't work in this toxic environment."

WPR asked Colom to comment on the allegations, but he declined and referred them to another administrator.

A little more than a year ago, five women resigned their jobs at the university over a two-day period. All cited Colom's hostility when they quit.

The former associate director of admissions told WPR that she quit because of Colom's unwarranted attacks on admissions director Heather Kretz - attacks that began, she said, soon after Colom was hired in 2018.

When Kretz resigned on a Friday, the former associate director of admissions and three other women resigned that following Monday.

While resignation is one way to deal with a hostile work environment, there are other options available. Contact the Milwaukee employment law office of Alan C. Olson and Associates to discuss the ways in which a skilled litigator and negotiator can protect your rights and career.

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