Suit accuses Alvin college of discrimination

John Suayan, Galveston Bureau Aug. 15, 2011, 12:00pm

GALVESTON - Two Alvin Community College employees complain that they are experiencing discrimination in the workplace, according to a lawsuit filed July 28 in the Galveston Division of the Southern District of Texas.

Gary Coffman and Patrica Coffman claim the school, Dean of Academic Programs Andrew Nelson and Provost John Bethscheider committed acts that are retaliatory in nature and detrimental to their respective current positions.

Gary Coffman states the defendants tried to switch him from his full-time tenured position in the Department of Sports and Human Performance to one in which he teaches English.

Patricia Coffman, a part-time instructor in the same department, asserts she was forced to accept drastic cuts in income and responsibilities because the defendants were displeased with her husband's efforts to stop his transfer.

The suit states that the recent recession caused a decrease in enrollment at ACC and a depletion of extramural funding sources, stating defendant Nelson sought to cope with the financial pressure by eliminating Gary Coffman's position.

Gary Coffman says the dean chose not to get rid of a recently hired faculty member's position nor elected to do away with that of an employee whose performance is not in accordance with ACC's mission, but instead targeted him.

He adds he has no experience with teaching English, and the switch would negatively affect him, the students enrolled in his classes and the school in general.

A grievance process resulted in ACC President Rodney Allbright overruling Nelson in regards to Gary Coffman's employment status.

The original petition further explains that Nelson announced a 50 percent reduction in Patricia Coffman's workload and income and Gary Coffman learned the plan to move him was "political."

It also shows the defendants reportedly did not allow Patricia Coffman access and participation in the procedure surrounding her employment, ultimately alluding to age and gender discrimination.

Consequently, the plaintiffs seek unspecified monetary damages, reinstatement of their original teaching duties and a jury trial.

They are representing themselves.

U.S. District Judge Kenneth M. Hoyt is presiding over the case.

Case No. 3:11-cv-361

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