- The Washington Times - Monday, April 15, 2002

Five white professors have filed a lawsuit against Livingstone College in North Carolina, claiming the predominantly black school discriminated against them because they are white.
They claim that white professors at Livingstone are routinely denied promotions and tenure and, in some cases, are paid less than their black colleagues. In other cases, the professors claim white professors are verbally harassed or physically intimidated by their black colleagues.
In addition, notes written on a black administrator's 1994 reorganization plan talked of making "Black replacements" for existing staff. "English Bring in Black Ph.D.," "Build Up Sciences and Math (Black)" and "Hire black chemist $48,000 $50,000," were among the statements written in the plan.
"It's a plan to remove white faculty from positions of power as department or division chairs and replace them with African-American faculty," said Robert Russ, one of the five plaintiffs who was denied tenure. "I spent 12 years, a quarter of my life at this school. That's almost twice the time it would take to get tenured. I feel cheated."
The case against Livingstone is one in a series of legal battles recently waged by white employees against historically black colleges in states such as Delaware and Pennsylvania.
The battles have also spilled over to predominately black public school districts such as Los Angeles Unified School District in California, where a group of white middle school teachers is suing the district, claiming an all-black administration harassed and discriminated against them because of their skin color. The Los Angeles school district is the second-largest school district in the country.
"It's a growing trend in our country, where white professors are suing historically black colleges," said John Stanfield, a professor of sociology at the Morehouse College in Atlanta and director of the school's Research Institute.
Mr. Stanfield said recent federal court rulings against hiring quotas have prompted more whites to play the race card in employment disputes. "Unfortunately, race is being utilized as a political football," he said.
Some employment discriminations over the years include:
Two tenured white professors sued Cheyney University in Pennsylvania in the mid-1990s, claiming the school forced them to resign after they opposed the appointment of minority faculty members they thought were unqualified. A federal jury awarded $2.2 million to the professors.
cA white professor sued Delaware State University in 1995 after she claimed she was denied tenure because of the color of her skin. A federal judge dismissed the case last month, saying there was not enough evidence. Meanwhile, in the past year, the university settled two discrimination lawsuits filed by former white employees.
A white professor sued administrators at Montgomery County Community College outside Philadelphia in 2000, accusing them of reverse discrimination. The professor claimed that his boss, a black woman, attempted to force him out of a job by changing his class-teaching schedule. The outcome of the case could not be determined.
"We have now reached a point in this country where discrimination is now taking effect against what is still a majority," said Brian Glicker, an attorney who is representing four teachers in the Los Angeles case. "Discrimination in all forms is wrong if it's based on race."
Some cases involved even high school students. A white female high school student in Seattle sued the city's school district after she said teachers and administrators did nothing to help her when black students called her racist names. The student received a $40,000 settlement.
College administrators at Livingstone declined to comment on the lawsuit, but did say they denied all accusations of discrimination. "We emphatically deny any discrimination against anybody," said university spokeswoman Charlotte Brown on Wednesday in a telephone interview.
Ms. Brown said the college has a racially diverse faculty. Forty-three percent of the faculty members are white, Asian/Pacific, and African who are not American-born. Out of 54 full-time professors, eight are white, eight are Asian/Pacific, and four are African. The student population is 99 percent black.

LOAD COMMENTS ()

 

Click to Read More

Click to Hide