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Wednesday, July 31, 2019

White Professor Working at HBCU Files Discrimination Lawsuit Over a Salary Complaint

Marshall Burns, white professor suing HBCU

Marshall Burns

Tuskegee, AL — Marshall Burns, a 73-year old white physics professor at historically Black Tuskegee University, has filed a lawsuit against the school for alleged age and race discrimination. He claims that he has been denied salary increases and he has a lower salary, unlike his younger colleagues.

Burns, who started working at the HBCU as an assistant professor in 1976 and promoted as a full professor since 1980, said he was receiving 30% to 50% lower salary despite his over four decades of tenure.

Burns also claimed in the lawsuit that he, as a white and “native-born American”, was the one who helped Tuskegee obtain additional funding from more conservative legislators in Alabama in 1989.

Burns said that he is paid $60,000 while younger full professors make $78,000 to $90,000. He said he asked for a raise at least 12 times but was denied every time. He claimed he should have earned an additional $400,000 over his career if he was given regular raises.

Moreover, Burns explained that he didn’t really want to sue the school since he never experienced any discrimination on campus.

“I’ve had what I consider to be exceptional students,” Burns told the Advertiser. “At Tuskegee, I’ve had classes with students who are go-getters and very smart. That’s what gives me enthusiasm to teach.”

But he felt he needs to do it because he said his complaint kept being ignored and it left him with no other choice. In his lawsuit, he requests for unspecified back pay for unpaid wages, damages, and attorney’s fees.

“I’ve suffered financially, emotionally,” Burns added. “I kept trying to think of what I could do to make them realize that I deserve full-professor pay.”