Community college professor's suit alleges racial discrimination

John Suayan, Galveston Bureau Feb. 11, 2009, 7:44am

GALVESTON – A professor at a community college in Texas City claims he is the target of racial discrimination, court papers say.

Ernest Navy seeks to have Galveston County 10th District Court Judge David Garner issue a declaratory judgment stating that the College of the Mainland engaged in discriminatory conduct when the school's Social and Behavioral Science Department denied the assistant professor of history tenure in April 2008.

"The plaintiff complains that his treatment and conditions of employment is illegal under Texas law in that race is and remains a factor with regards to same," his suit, which was filed by Galveston attorney Anthony P. Griffin on Feb. 9, says.

Navy alleges he has been mistreated because of his ethnic origin since he was hired in 2004. He argues that his colleagues made "racially insensitive remarks" and engaged in "unwarranted and race-based behavior" in his presence.

The original petition explains the plaintiff went through a series of incidents in which other faculty attempted to unseat him of his position. Navy addressed each episode to the defendant's administration to no avail.

"The plaintiff asserted that his treatment was in violation of Texas law and college policy surrounding disparate treatment based upon race," the suit says. "The plaintiff complained of the unabated attacks, the lack of support by upper-management to stop the attacks and no basis in fact with respect to the alleged negative student evaluations."

After Navy's last complaint was tossed in February 2008, he turned to the Texas Workforce Commission for assistance, it adds.

The plaintiff's tenure application, which was filed in August 2007, was subsequently reviewed by a committee of ten faculty members. Six voted the request be denied outright without any chance for revision while four elected for Navy to reapply after making necessary changes.

"This final vote of tenure, without reconsideration, has never been done at the college (disparate treatment)," the suit says.

Navy appealed the rejection, charging that one of the committee members passed around a wanted criminal poster with his likeness prior to the voting session.

In addition to the declaratory judgment, the plaintiff demands restitution for back wages and benefits as well as a jury trial.

Case No. 09CV0176

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