Here’s something I never thought I’d live to see: a historically black college has been slapped with a lawsuit alleging age and racial discrimination—by a white guy.
According to the Daily Beast, the school in question is Alabama’s Tuskegee University, which is being sued by its own 73-year-old physics professor and one-time Teacher of the Year, Marshall Burns. In a filing to the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Alabama, Burns insists that despite his tenure of more than 40 years at the historic university, his salary is between 30 to 50 percent lower than that of his younger—and presumably blacker—contemporaries.
Which means we live in a world in which a white male has somehow squandered his privilege and is taking home only $60,500—equivalent to an associate professor salary—as opposed to the $78,000 to $90,000 other faculty are making.
After submitting a complaint with the federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission in November, Burns filed a lawsuit on July 19.
“It’s just wrong,” he told the Daily Beast.
According to the lawsuit, Tuskegee University has “discriminated against [Burns] due to his age by continually denying justified requests for salary adjustments and by paying [Burns] less than younger, less qualified professors.”
“Notwithstanding Dr. Burns’ significant contributions to Tuskegee University, and his stellar help in getting it more money, Tuskegee has ungratefully kept [Burns] at an associate level of pay for his entire academic career,” the lawsuit asserts.
Despite the school’s refusal to run him his coins, Burns insists that he has always been treated with the utmost respect and has never “felt any racial discrimination on campus.”
“I’ve suffered financially, emotionally,” Burns told the Daily Beast. “I kept trying to think of what I could do to make them realize that I deserve full-professor pay.”