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DU law professor fights for equal pay for women

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DENVER -- While women are making strides in closing the wage gap between them and men, there's still work to be done.

A recent report revealed that a typical working woman will earn more than $440,000 less than a man over a 40-year career.

That’s why a professor at the University of Denver is trying to change the way females are paid at the school.

Professor Lucy Marsh has taught at DU for 40 years. She first filed a complaint with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission in July after she began researching the alleged pay disparity. She said she discovered the alleged pay inequality after a salary memo was sent out by the law school's Dean last year.

“My hope is this will have an impact much broader than just my own case but just to make sure that everybody pays equally for equal work,” Marsh said.

DU's Sturm College of Law is among the highest rated in the nation, but a group of alumni brought over 1,700 petitions to the school leadership Thursday, demanding answers over allegations that women professors are paid far less than men.

"It's time that we talk about in our society, about women and men being paid equally and it's taken too long to get there,” DU law graduate Ashley Wheeland said.

DU's provost and law school dean both said there is a merit pay system based on teaching, scholarly work and service to the community.

“It's a system that is designed to be both transparent and objective, which is actually designed to avoid any type of bias creeping into that system,” DU Sturm College of Law Dean Martin Katz said.

Marsh disagrees, saying the pay system is by no means transparent because nobody knows what anybody else is being paid. She says the school has not responded to her or her lawyers, but officials did meet with the alumni.

"We explained our concern about equitable treatment which is crucial for us,” DU provost Gregg Kvistad said.

The alumni group called Thursday’s meeting a first step.