University of Kentucky Settles Suit with Astronomer

By Dylan Lovan | January 18, 2011 | 3:56 PM EST

Louisville, Ky. (AP) - An astronomy professor who sued the University of Kentucky after claiming he lost out on a top job because of his Christian beliefs has reached a settlement with the school.

The university has agreed to pay $125,000 to Martin Gaskell in exchange for Gaskell dropping a federal religious discrimination suit. Gaskell claimed he was passed over to be director of UK's MacAdam Student Observatory in 2007 because of his religion and statements that were perceived to be critical of evolution.

Court exhibits showed Gaskell was a top candidate, but some professors called him "something close to a creationist" and "potentially evangelical" in e-mails.

UK said in a statement Tuesday that its "hiring processes were and are fundamentally sound and were followed in this case."

A trial was set for Feb. 8.