Alabama State University sued by gay white professors

hbcu, alabama state

Historically black Alabama State University is being sued over its treatment of two gay, white male professors. Dr. John Garland filed a lawsuit on June 11, 2014 which details his treatment and that of his husband who works at the university also. Besides the university being sued, the lawsuit also names eight current and former employees for racial discrimination against job applicants and retaliation against Garland when he protested the school’s actions.

The lawsuit goes on to state that “Garland’s supervisor expressed his opinion, stated or implied, that Dr. Garland did not belong at the University and was not ‘suited to [the University’s] type of students’ because Dr. Garland is not African American.” Garland is in fact Native American and a member of the Choctaw Indian nation and has worked at ASU since 2008. His white same-sex partner, Dr. Steven Chesbro, whom he legally married in 2013, was also hired around 2008.

The lawsuit goes on to paint a picture of a startling lack of Diversity, “A small, powerful group at the University believes that Drs. Garland and Chesbro have no place at the University simply because of their non-African American or non-black identity. This group, including combinations of the individually named defendants, has conspired to destroy the careers and employment of these two dedicated teachers. Some administrators and faculty welcome and support Drs. Garland and Chesbro as colleagues, while others reluctantly accept their presence as a necessary evil due to legal considerations.”

Garland is suing the school for reinstatement to his former position, or a comparable position, and the removal of derogatory, defamatory, and inaccurate material from his personnel file, back pay and lost benefits and “freedom to work in a non-discriminatory, non-retaliatory, and non-hostile environment.” Alabama State University will not comment on the pending lawsuit.

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