Fired Alabama A&M Professor Claims Racial Discrimination

HUNTSVILLE Ala.

A former Alabama A&M assistant professor has filed a federal lawsuit claiming he was fired because of racial discrimination.

Dr. Jiann-Min Chang, 51, a native of Taiwan, filed suit on June 28 claiming he was also denied tenure and paid less because of his race and national origin.

Chang is seeking lost wages and benefits, unspecified compensatory and punitive damages and payment of his legal fees.

Alabama A&M general counsel Kenneth Hairston declined comment Friday, citing university policy on personnel matters and pending litigation.

Chang, who holds a Ph.D. in physics, was hired in 1997 and fired on May 15, 2006 because of an argument with university administrator Dr. Shirley Houzer, who was acting vice president of academic affairs, the suit said.

Houzer, who is black, threatened to fire Chang, who taught a physics lab, when he did not allow a black female student to make up an examination she had missed 15 days earlier, according to the lawsuit.

“Dr. Houzer made the decision upon the complaint of the student without any investigation and without obtaining any information from Chang concerning the reasons that he had refused the make-up test,” the suit said.

Chang allowed the student to take the test but still was dismissed.

He was denied tenure three times, and said he was paid less than professors in similar positions.

Information from: The Huntsville Times, http://www.al.com/hsvtimes/hsv.html

–Associated Press



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