Teacher accuses TC College of discrimination

Gill says English Department chair at Northeast Campus told her the state and the school ‘do not like homosexuals’

Jacqueline “Jackie” Gill
Jacqueline “Jackie” Gill

TAMMYE NASH  |  Senior Editor
nash@dallasvoice.com

HURST — Jacqueline “Jackie” Gill filed suit Wednesday, Sept. 7, against a professor and a dean at Northeast Campus of Tarrant County College in Hurst, claiming that she was denied the opportunity to apply for a permanent, full- time teaching position there because of the English Department chair’s bias against what he perceived her sexual orientation to be.

Tarrant County College adopted a nondiscrimination policy prohibiting discrimination based on sexual orientation on March 9 of this year.

Frank Griffis, director of public relations and marketing for Tarrant County College, said it “would not be appropriate” for school officials to comment on pending litigation. He also said school officials had not yet been served with papers and therefore had not read the complaint.

Gill said she had worked as a full-time temporary English professor for about a year at the Northeast Campus. But when the position was to be made permanent, English Department Chair Eric Devlin refused to allow her to apply for the permanent position.

Gill said when she complained about Devlin to Northeast Campus Humanities Division Dean Antonio R. Howell, he initially seemed to side with her, but after speaking to Devlin, Howell refused to communicate further with her. Gill said although she is a lesbian and has never tried to hide that fact, she had never talked about her orientation with Devlin or anyone else at the school.

Both Devlin and Howell are named as co-defendants in the lawsuit.

Gill is represented in the lawsuit by Lambda Legal South Central Region staff attorney Ken Upton, joined by pro bono counsel Benjamin D. Williams from the law firm of Gibson, Dunn and Crutcher.

Gill and Upton held a press conference Wednesday to announce that the lawsuit had been filed earlier that morning in U.S. district court in Fort Worth. The press conference was held at a Hurst hotel located just a few blocks from the Tarrant County College campus where Gill had taught.

According to the complaint filed Wednesday, and statements Gill made during the press conference, Gill was first hired on a full time, temporary basis as an English professor on Aug. 21, 2009. A little more than a month later, at the end of October, a female “dual-enrollment” student — a high school student who was also taking college classes — in Gill’s distance learning class cheated by stealing an exam and skipped some classes.

The student’s high school counselor told Gill that the student has a history of disruptive behavior, and when the student dropped the class, Gill was told the situation was closed.

On Nov. 9, however, Devlin called Gill into his office and told her the student had accused Gill of “flirting” with female students. Gill denied the accusations, noting that there was always another teacher in the class at the same time.

That’s when Devlin responded with “a lengthy diatribe about homosexuals and how the Texas public views them,” according to the complaint. Gill said Devlin went on to say that Texas is a conservative state and TCC is a conservative school, and that “Texas and Tarrant County College do not like homosexuals.”

Gill continued to teach at TCC, receiving high praise and compliments from students and staff alike, including from Devlin. Then in May 2010, she and other full-time temporary professors were told by Howell that all seven temporary full- time positions were being made permanent, and that they were being re-designated as adjunct faculty until the permanent positions were filled.

Gill said Howell also encouraged her and the other temporary professors to apply for the permanent jobs. Gill applied for all seven but was the only one of the seven temporary professors not hired for the permanent positions. Gill said that she was, in fact, not even allowed to interview for any of the positions, even though her experience and credentials were as good as or better than those who were hired.

Gill said she met with Howell and told him about Devlin’s anti-gay comments and refusal to allow her to interview for the permanent positions. She said Howell promised her to discuss the situation with Devlin immediately, but that he never got back in touch with her.

She said she also got no response when she tried to discuss the situation with the vice president and president of Tarrant County College.

Gill continued to teach as an adjunct professor at the campus through December 2010, although, she said, Devlin’s attitude toward her became “even more hostile.”

And she said that although she was originally assigned classes for the 2011 spring term, as she was preparing for those classes she discovered she had been removed as the professor. When she inquired about the status of the class, Gill said, she was told that Devlin had specifically instructed that those classes be taken away from her.

Upton said that Devlin and Howell violated the equal protection clause of the U.S. Constitution by refusing to allow Gill to apply for the permanent teaching position. He said Gill’s suit is asking that she be allowed to complete the application process and that she be compensated for the time she has been unemployed.

Gill, who is a Ph.D. candidate at the University of Texas at Arlington, said she would love to get a teaching job with TCC, and while she would prefer to work at another campus, she is willing to go back to the Northeast Campus and work again in Devlin’s department.

“I worked hard. I earned it,” Gill said of the permanent position. “I have nothing to be ashamed of. If it [her working in Devlin’s department again] would be awkward for anyone, I think it would be awkward for him [Devlin] because he is the one who was in the wrong.”

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition September 9, 2011.

—  Michael Stephens

Pawlenty sharpening up anti-gay credentials with hate group

crossposted on Holy Bullies and Headless Monsters

just adding to Pam's excellent diary

pawlenty

As we all know, the American Family Assocation has been called an anti-gay hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center and mostly because of comments made by Bryan Fischer.

Fisher has:

Argued that we should“impose the same sanctions on those who engage in homosexual behavior as we do on those who engage in intravenous drug abuse.” (2/3/2010)

Wrote: “The inescapable conclusion is that gay sex is a form of domestic terrorism.” (6/10/2010)

Said: “Hitler discovered that he could not get straight soldiers to be savage and brutal and vicious enough to carry out his orders, but that homosexual solders basically had no limits and the savagery and brutality they were willing to inflict on whomever Hitler sent them after. So he surrounded himself, virtually all of the Stormtroopers, the Brownshirts, were male homosexuals.” (5/25/2010)

However former Minnesota Governor and prospective presidential candidate Tim Pawlenty was only interested in playing nice with Fischer while appearing on his radio show today, even to the point of talking positively of reinstating Don't Ask, Don't Tell.

Let's be clear about something – if Fischer's comments had been racist or anti-Semitic, Pawlenty wouldn't have dared to come on his program.

But since they pertaining to the lgbt community, some folks may think that these comments and Pawlenty's appearance on the program of the person making then are both okay.

And it's par for the course for Pawlenty.

Ever since the buzz about his presidential aspirations was made public, Pawlenty seems to have been on a mission to establish his so-called “conservative credentials” on the backs of the lgbt community.

On May of last year, he vetoed a bill aimed at giving same-sex partners the same end-of-life rights as married couples.

In December of 2009, he backtracked from pro-gay legislation that he signed, claiming that the bill would led to third-graders being taught by “cross-dressing” teachers.

No doubt Pawlenty's mind is on the 2004 election, when anti-gay marriage amendments sent conservative voters to the polls and gave President Bush a second term.

Someone should inform Pawlenty that the lgbt community aren't exactly as compliant as we were back then. And we won't wait until someone uses us as scapegoats before we fight back.

In other words, if Pawlenty thinks he is going to get to the White House on the backs of the lgbt community, someone told him wrong.

Related posts:

Perhaps anti-gay hate groups should put a muzzle on Bryan Fischer

Family Research Council's 'we are not a hate group' campaign gets destroyed on two fronts

American Family Association will not confront reason why its considered a hate group

Hat tip to PFAW for providing the list of Fischer's comments.
Pam’s House Blend – Front Page

—  admin

WATCH: Chris Tina Foxx Bruce on discrimination

Chris Tina Foxx Bruce, a transgender personal fitness trainer who’s become something of a celebrity since being profiled by Dallas Voice a few months ago, talks about some discrimination she suffered recently at the hands of a Dallas gym owner.

In her latest video blog posted on Saturday, Foxx Bruce explains that she was interested in contracting with the owner to use his gyms, which are convenient to many of her clients.

“When I walked in, you would have thought I had beaten his child,” she says. “I’m used to the looks. I just would have thought in north or downtown Dallas, it wouldn’t have been such a shock, but he didn’t even allow the time to really discuss credentials, resume. It was just pretty much that he didn’t think I was a good fit.”

Foxx Bruce also confirms in the video blog that she plans to run for the U.S. Senate seat held by Kay Bailey Hutchison in 2012. And she encourages people to vote for her as DFW’s Ultimate Diva.

—  John Wright

Oxford, Claremont … What Else Will The Lamestream Media Find To Be Untrue About Christine O’Donnell’s Credentials?

First Oxford, now Claremont Graduate University: Both schools that Christine O'Donnell did not attend, despite her own claims otherwise. At Oxford, O'Donnell merely attended a class at something called the Phoenix Institute, which rented space from the esteemed school And Claremont in California, the Delaware GOP nominee for governor says she held down a "2002 Abraham Lincoln Graduate Fellowship in Constitutional Government." She made that up.


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—  John Wright