Following an appeal and four years of litigation, a male professor's discrimination suit against Lamar University is set to go to trial.
As the Southeast Texas Record previously reported, in February 2008, Michael Jordan, a Lamar University professor, brought a discrimination suit against the college, alleging he was denied tenure because of his gender.
Pre-trial and jury selection in the case began Monday, April 16.
A year prior, Lamar University filed an appeal in the Ninth Court of Appeals of Texas, hoping to reverse a ruling denying it sovereign immunity.
Court records show that on May 24, 2010, Jefferson County Judge Donald Floyd, 172nd District Court, denied the college's immunity motion.
On Feb. 17, 2011, the Ninth Court issued an opinion reversing the trial court's denial of Lamar's plea to the jurisdiction motion, but did affirm part of the lower court's order on the retaliation claim, allowing the suit to continue.
Court papers show that Jordan applied for tenure on Nov. 14, 2005, and was rejected the following month. He then filed his charge of discrimination on Dec. 7, 2006 - seven months past the 180-day deadline.
In his suit, Jordan says he was an assistant professor in the criminal justice department and was granted two years' credit toward tenure when he accepted the position at Lamar.
In 2005, Jordan's tenure application was denied, despite the fact that his teaching evaluation scores were higher than other faculty members in the criminal justice department, he claims in his suit.
He alleges the year before his application was denied, the university granted tenure to a female professor in his department, and that he has been routinely treated disparately from his female counterparts.
Jordan also claims that the university has a pattern of not hiring male applicants to faculty positions, court papers say.
He is seeking back pay and lost benefits, reinstatement and tenure, compensatory damages, attorneys' fees, interest and court costs.
Beaumont attorney David Tolin represents Jordan.
Lamar is represented in part by Austin attorney Gunnar Seaquist.
Trial case No. E181-188
Appeals case No. 09-10-00292