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The appeal of a sexual discrimination case won by the University in 1989 will be indefinitely delayed because the plaintiff has failed to file a formal request for a new lawyer. The appeal, filed by former Van Pelt College House administrative fellow Ann McHugh, was scheduled to begin last month, but was postponed when McHugh fired her lawyer, federal court clerk Martin Bryce said this week. Bryce said the case cannot be rescheduled until McHugh files a written request for new counsel. McHugh could not be reached for comment last night. Bryce said yesterday that even if a formal request were received, the court would not be able to schedule the trial until May. "We are going to take no action until May," said Bryce. "The current trial schedule is too busy." Associate General Counsel Neil Hamburg, the attorney who is representing the University in the case, said the indefinite postponement will not affect the University's case. In the postponed suit, McHugh claims she was constantly harrassed by a student while serving as a Van Pelt College House administrative fellow and Van Pelt officials did not sufficiently attempt to stop the abuse despite her protests. She contends that she was fired after taking her complaints to the University Ombudsman. The University maintains she filed her complaint about harassment after she was fired. McHugh contends in court documents that she was fired solely because of her complaint. The University said in its formal reply that she was fired because she was unable to "perform effectively" in her position. The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission decided in 1989 that McHugh's dismissal was not based on sexual discrimination. McHugh decided to appeal this decision through the courts. The EEOC reviews all unfair firing claims and decides whether they should continue through the court system. The Commission only rarely prevents a claim from going to court.

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