Two white faculty members at Alabama State University have filed a discrimination lawsuit against the HBCU claiming the school is racist toward whites in its hiring and admission practices.
Steven B. Chesbro and his partner and fellow ASU faculty member John Garland also allege that ASU passed anti-same sex couples regulations and that officials retaliated against them for complaining about the university using race as a determining factor in hiring professors and admitting students. According to court papers, Chesbro is the only dean at ASU who is not Black, reports USA Today.
But ASU denies the contentions.
“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,” Bobby Segall, an attorney for ASU, said.
Wayne Sabel, who is representing Chesbro and Garland, said, however, the suit “clearly shows that there was discrimination because of race and sexual orientation: There’s no doubt about that.”
“They have told Dr. Chesbro that his hands are tied in the face of gross insubordination and even threats of physical harm,” Sabel said. “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.'”
Sabel said the two white faculty members are being treated differently from Black, straight professors at ASU.
According to the suit, Chesbro and Garland are not alone that other white faculty members have complained as well about ASU racist hiring and selection processes; faculty members on one search committee said its primary goal should be to choose a Black female; and that race played a major role in admissions to the doctoral program for physical therapy.
“As many as six EEOC (Equal Employment Opportunity Commission) charges, not including those directly involving this matter, are now pending against the university alleging race or gender discrimination,” the suit says.
It adds, “Of the 47 Black applicants who applied for admission to the doctoral program for physical therapy in 2013, 20 percent met the required GPA standard, but 57 percent of the candidates were admitted. In contrast, of 137 white applicants, 59 percent met the required GPA standard, but only 32 percent were admitted.”