Wiccan Professor Accuses St. Bonaventure University for Religious Discrimination

University didn’t let a professor of communication advance in her career because she’s a woman and a witch

St. Bonaventure University has been hit with a lawsuit. According to the lawsuit, the university didn’t let a professor of communication advance in her career because she’s a woman and a witch.

Pauline Hoffman, 49, who served as dean of Jandoli School of Communication has claimed that she was discriminated against based on sex and religion.

Hoffman has described herself as a “gentlewoman farmer” and a “data nerd.” She co-owns an organic body-care company with her sister and attended the Catholic university since she was an undergrad.

Discrimination against Hoffman began around Halloween 2011 a university communications officer that student journalists wanted to interview her about her Wiccan beliefs and she altered the university. She said that she wanted to support the student media as the dean of the school of communications. Hoffman said that the students wanted a witch’s perspective on Halloween.

Following this, then-Provost Michael Fischer approached Hoffman and asked her to sign a document vowing to uphold the university’s Roman Catholic values. Hoffman replied by asking if she would have to sign the document if she was Jewish. According to the complaint, Fischer replied saying that if she was Jewish, “I guess not.”

Hoffman revealed that she asked then-president Sister Margaret Carney if others who are employed by the university would have to sign the morals document. Sister Margaret Carney replied saying that the document was just for her.

Hoffman also believes that she was compensated less than all the other deans on campus who were male. She also said that Sister Margaret also told her that she took a big chance hiring Hoffman as a Wiccan.

In a separate incident, Fischer allegedly told Hoffman that she “might not want to be so overt about being a witch if you want to move up.” Hoffman has said that she has been a practicing Wiccan for 20 years.

After a promotion to provost during her deanship was denied, Hoffman believes that St. Bonaventure discriminated against her for her beliefs.

There have been many allegations thrown around about Hoffman being a witch. Hoffman has described Wicca as rooted in a sort of golden rule. She explained that the credo of Wicca is to “do what you will but harm none.”

Tom Missel, a spokesman for St. Bonaventure, said that the school wouldn’t comment on the case as it is a personal and legal matter. Only time will reveal the outcome of this lawsuit.


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