Prof claims tenure improperly denied, files discrimination suit

Marilyn Tennissen Feb. 14, 2008, 11:52am

A Lamar University professor has filed a discrimination suit against the college, alleging he was denied tenure because he is a man.

Michael Jordan filed a lawsuit against the university on Feb. 6 in Jefferson County District Court.

According to the plaintiff's original complaint, Jordan was an assistant professor in the criminal justice department and was granted two years' credit toward tenure when he accepted the position at Lamar.

The suit states that Jordan received a merit salary increase at the conclusion of two years and another "high merit" increase after three years.

But in 2005, Jordan said his tenure application was denied, despite the fact that his teaching evaluation scores were higher than other faculty members in the criminal justice department, the suit claims.

Jordan claims that the year before his application was denied, the university granted tenure to a female professor in his department.

The professor says he spent more time on instruction than other members of the criminal justice faculty and performed more than half of the advisory duties, with responsibilities to advisement of freshman, sophomore and transfer students. Jordan claims he also taught the widest variety of classes in the department and created new classes.

In addition, Jordan claims he had published and presented professional papers and research in both English and Spanish.

"Plaintiff even produced an award-winning, internationally broadcast, educational documentary film," the original complaint states.

Jordan claims that under the guidelines of the Texas State University System, of which Lamar University is part, he is entitled to a promotion to associate professor as well as tenure.

The complaint also alleges that Jordan has been treated disparately from his female counterparts.

A single father, Jordan claims he requested adjustments to his teaching schedule to accommodate the demands of parenthood, such as not assigning 8 a.m. classes to Jordan so that he could drop his daughter at school.

"These requests were never addressed or accommodated," the complaint states. "The University has, however, made these accommodations for parental obligations in the schedules of its female faculty members."

Jordan also alleges that the university has a pattern of not hiring male applicants to faculty positions.

He is seeking back pay and lost benefits, reinstatement and tenure, compensatory damages, attorneys' fees, interest and court costs. The plaintiff is also requesting that the university be enjoined from engaging in future acts that are in violation of anti-discrimination laws.

Jordan asserts that he has exhausted all administrative remedies and filed a complaint with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission and the Texas Commission on Human Rights/Texas Workforce Commission. The "right to sue" letter from Texas Workforce was received Jan. 7.

The university has not yet responded to the allegations.

Anthony P. Griffin of Galveston is representing Jordan.

The case has been assigned to Judge Donald Floyd, 172nd District Court.

Case No. E181-188

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