Are white professors suited to teach at HBCUs?
A white professor has filed a discrimination suit in federal court against Alabama State University, contending that university officials have retaliated against him and his gay partner after they complained about the university’s racially discriminatory practices.
Via Montgomery Advertiser reports:
Dr. John Garland said he “observed instances where applicants were not seriously considered for employment because of their race,” and he has heard several faculty members and administrators contend that only African-American candidates were “suited” to teach at Historically Black Colleges and Universities.
The suit, filed in Montgomery’s U.S. District Court, contends that Garland was targeted after speaking out against these discriminatory practices.
Contacted Thursday, ASU officials said through spokesman Ken Mullinax that they would have no comment since they had not yet been served with the lawsuit.
Garland said after his comments, he was transferred to a lesser job, resulting in a salary reduction of more than $23,000, that all his contact information, biography and curriculum vitae were removed from the university website and that he was placed in an office where for months he had no working computer, mail service, phone extension, copying capabilities, bookshelves or file cabinets
The suit states that to date, Garland has not received any campus mail at the office where he was moved Aug. 21, 2012, and that the university operator has been incorrectly telling callers that he no longer works at the university.
Garland’s partner, Steven B. Chesbro, who, according to the suit, is the only dean at ASU not designated as African-American or black, has filed a discrimination complaint against ASU with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission and also contends he has been retaliated against by university officials.
After he made allegations of discrimination, Garland said the university had he and his partner investigated, and colleagues were interrogated about their same-sex relationship. When the investigation uncovered no evidence of wrongdoing, the suit says, its findings were rejected.
Garland’s attorney, Wayne Sabel, says he knows of at least six discrimination complaints filed against ASU.
He said that Garland and Chesbro are both loyal to ASU and recognize the importance of an institution like ASU retaining its character as an HBCU.
“That’s why we have tried for more than a year to have a meaningful conversation with ASU,” Sabel said. “We’ve suggested mediation on a number of occasions. Unfortunately, they have shown absolutely no interest in trying to resolve the case without litigation.