Two white faculty members at Alabama State University have filed a lawsuit against the school in which they claim that ASU discriminates against whites in its hiring and admissions processes, USA Today reports.
Steven B. Chesbro, reportedly the only white dean at Alabama State, and his partner, John Garland, a faculty member, also took issue with how the school allegedly implemented regulations against same-sex couples, according to USA Today.
Chesbro and Garland claim that the school retaliated against them for speaking up about the university’s alleged use of race to decide which students are admitted to the school and which faculty members are hired.
Wayne Sabel, an attorney who is representing Chesbro and Garland, described some of the statements that were allegedly made to his clients about which faculty members should be brought on board to teach African-American students. “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.
Sabel even suggested that his clients were physically threatened when they voiced their concerns about these issues. “They have told Dr. Chesbro that his hands are tied in the face of gross insubordination, and even threats of physical harm,” Sabel said.
Sabel also claimed that Chesbro and Garland are being forced out of their positions for taking a stand against the alleged discrimination: “There is clearly a campaign not only to force Dr. Chesbro and Dr. Garland out, but to force out a number of other longtime white faculty.”
ASU’s administration denies the allegations and says that discussions about Chesbro’s and Garland’s employment had nothing to do with race or sexual orientation. “They deny that anything related to [Chesbro’s and Garland’s] employment arose because of anything racial or anything related to their sexual orientation,” said Bobby Segall, an attorney representing ASU.
Among Chesbro’s and Garland’s claims are that there are at least six Equal Employment Opportunity Commission charges pending against the university; preference was given to black female professors during a hunt for a new faculty member; preference was given to African-American doctoral candidates in the school’s physical therapy program; and black students were admitted to the physical therapy program at a higher rate than white students, even though there were more white students who satisfied the GPA requirements for admission. They also claim that rules preventing couples from working together in the same department applied only to same-sex couples.