College pays ex-administrator $35K in gender action

Alexandra Radovic, Editor-in-Chief

The college paid a former AACC administrator $35,000 in May to settle a gender-discrimination lawsuit he filed in 2016, according to a court document obtained by Campus Current through a Maryland Public Information Act request. 

Richard Cerkovnik, who worked at AACC as a special assistant to the vice president for learning and was the former chair of the Physical Science Department, sued the college for nearly $2.4 million in December 2016, claiming the school denied him job promotions in favor of “less-qualified” female contenders, according to court documents. Cerkovnik resigned in 2015. 

Neither Cerkovnik nor college officials agreed to talk to Campus Current about the confidential settlement.  

In court documents, the college said Cerkovnik’s “own conduct, acts or omissions” influenced its decision not to promote him. 

According to the settlement agreement, neither Cerkovnik nor college officials may discuss its terms. 

Dr. Lance Bowen, dean of sciences and technology since 2017, holds the job Cerkovnik applied for. 

“I work with an exceptionally talented group of colleagues, whether they are male or female, black, white, Hispanic, Latino or Latina. … It’s a fantastic place to work,” Bowen said. 

Students on campus this summer said they disagree with Cerkovnik’s decision to sue the college.  

The lawsuit “doesn’t make any sense. It’s pretty crazy,” first-year information systems student Jordan Apollo said. “It seems like he was looking for an excuse. I’ve never heard of a guy suing for that reason.”  

Third-year undecided student Love Alana, who works in the library, said she has never experienced any form of gender discrimination at AACC. 

“[Cerkovnik] shouldn’t have done that,” said Alana. “It seems weird; people don’t just get jobs based on their gender.”