Magazine article Black Issues in Higher Education

White Administrators Charge College with Racism

Magazine article Black Issues in Higher Education

White Administrators Charge College with Racism

Article excerpt

Houston -- White administrators at Houston Community College (HCC) have accused the institution of racial discrimination in a lawsuit filed in federal court.

Lois Avery, dean of academic development for HCC's Northeast Campus; Tom Baxter, jail program coordinator; and Roger Simmons, technology center coordinator, said they have not been able to get promotions because the board of trustees has been favoring Blacks and Latinos.

The nine-member board is dominated by five Black and Latino trustees, said George M. Kirk, the lawyer for the plaintiffs, who are seeking unspecified compensatory damages. The board is elected in a single-member district system that is supposed to ensure minority representation among the trustees.

"The point of the case is that the majority has adopted a sort of a board politics system of race-based preference so certain wards are for different races," said Kirk.

Under this system, according to Kirk, positions at the Northeast and Central campuses are being given to Blacks and the Southeast campus is for Latinos. The other two campuses are in mostly White areas The system follows the racial demographics of the wards that the trustees were elected to represent.

Although the system has increased the number of Black and Latino appointees, Kirk said it isn't an affirmative action plan. It was never ordered by a court or worked out as part of a settlement of any complaint against the college.

HCC Chancellor Dr. Ruth Burgos-Sasscer said that the college doesn't have an affirmative action, plan and there is no effort to hire administrators according to racial patterns.

"We are an equal employment opportunity agency, and we do not discriminate," she said.

The chancellor refused to comment further on the issue because it is a matter of litigation.

HCC has five regional campuses with a total enrollment of 53,000 students, 38,000 of whom are taking classes for credit. …

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