Babson Professor Lakshmi Balachandra Files Lawsuit, Alleging Gender and Racial Discrimination

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Lakshmi Balachandra
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WELLESLEY, MA–Lakshmi Balachandra, an associate professor of entrepreneurship at Babson College, has filed a lawsuit, alleging she was subjected to gender and racial discrimination at the Wellesley business school, according to the Boston Globe.

The Boston Globe, which first reported the story, said that Ms. Balachandra claimed that she lost career opportunities and faced economic losses, emotional distress, and harm to her reputation because of mistreatment and administrators’ failure to investigate her concerns.

“Babson favors white and male faculty and predominantly reserves awards and privileges for them,” according to the complaint, filed in US District Court in Boston, as reported by the Boston Globe.

Ms. Balachandra, a leading expert in improvisation, negotiation and entrepreneurial pitching, was named one of the outstanding Women of the Year in 2018 by INDIA New England News.

Ms. Balachandra has taught courses and international programs to students and executives on entrepreneurship, negotiation, improvisation, and leadership. She consults to a wide range of companies including Goldman Sachs, Genzyme, Novartis, Shell and the CIA, and frequently guest lectures in several courses at the Harvard Business School. She teaches a course she designed on improvisation and leadership at the MIT Sloan School of Management.

While working for the largest women-owned, women-focused venture capital firm in the country, she founded the Women’s Venture Capital Network, the first network of its kind in the country where she organized, created and managed numerous networking events and educational panels for women professionals in the industry. During (and in-between) her professional career in finance and entrepreneurship, Ms. Balachandra has also been a professional stand-up comedian and improvisational comedian performing in comedy clubs across the country.

Prior to joining Babson College, Dr. Balachandra was a Visiting Assistant Professor of Entrepreneurship and Innovation at Northeastern University in Boston, MA and a Lecturer at the MIT Sloan School of Management and the Harvard Extension School. She has also taught at Boston College and UCSD Rady’s School of Management. She received her BA in Environmental Studies and Economics at the University of Chicago and an MBA from the MIT Sloan School of Management. She has a PhD in Management from Boston College.

Boston Globe reported that a spokesperson for Babson said the college is aware of the legal complaint.

“The college is home to a diverse global community where equity and inclusion are valued and incorporated across every facet of campus, and where discrimination of any kind is not tolerated,” the spokesperson said in a statement as reported by the Boston Globe. “Babson takes concerns or complaints seriously and has well-established protocols and resources in place to thoroughly investigate and address them. We look forward to addressing this through the legal process.”

The Boston Globe reported that Balachandra said in the lawsuit that despite her research record, expressed interest, and service to the college, she was denied numerous leadership positions and opportunities for more time to conduct research and write.

“Such privileges are routinely given to white male faculty in the entrepreneurship division,” the complaint read, according to the Boston Globe.

Balachandra, who is currently on leave for a fellowship at the National Science Foundation, is seeking unspecified damages, according to the Boston Globe. To read the Globe story, please click here.

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