White faculty members sue HBCU over alleged discrimination

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Two white faculty members as Alabama State University have filed a lawsuit claiming that the historically black university is discriminating against them and other white faculty members for their race as well as for their sexual orientation.

Steven B. Chesbro, the only dean who is not African-American or black, and John Garland, state in the suit that they have been punished for bringing up their allegations of discrimination.

An attorney representing the university released a statement:

They deny that anything related to their (Chesbro’s and Garland’s) employment arose because of anything racial or anything related to their sexual orientation.

But according to Wayne Sabel, attorney for Chesbro and Garland, there is “no doubt” about the discrimination taking place.

They have told Dr. Chesbro that his hands are tied in the face of gross insubordination and even threats of physical harm. You look at some of the statements they have made that are in the complaint, and they are saying things like ‘only black professors should teach black students.’

The lawsuit contains numerous discrimination charges. For example, on one occasion, it is alleged that a white faculty member who raised concerns over preferential racial treatment in the university’s admissions process was then taken off the admissions committee.

The suit also claims discrimination against same-sex couples, saying that the nepotism rules were changed so that couples could not work together but that the rule only applies to same-sex couples and not opposite-sex couples.

Garland also said that he had been punished for his comments with a salary reduction of $23,000 and had been moved to an office without a working computer, mail service, or phone. He claimed that his contact and biographical information had been removed from the university website and that he had not received any mail at his new office since moving there in 2012, partly because the university was incorrectly telling people he no longer worked there.