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

Pet of the Week: Dean

Dean is a stunning black-and-white tuxedo kitty with olive-green eyes. He’s 2 years old but seldom acts his age. Dean loves people and is great with children and other cats, too. Sometimes he’s playful, sometimes he’s laidback, and he’s always loving. June is Adopt a Shelter Cat Month, and the purrfect time to make Dean a part of the family.

Dean and many other dogs, cats, puppies and kittens are available for adoption from Dallas Animal Services, 1818 N. Westmoreland at I-30, just minutes west of Downtown Dallas. The shelter is open Monday-Saturday 11 a.m.-6:30 p.m. and Sundays noon-5 p.m. The cost to adopt is $85 for dogs and $55 for cats and includes spay/neuter surgery, vaccinations, microchip and more. All dogs are negative for heartworms, and cats have been tested for FeLV and FIV. For more information, visit DallasAnimalServices.org or call 214-671-0249.

—  John Wright

Letting it REGISTER • Pride Weddings & Celebrations 2011

Gift registries can be intimidating. Dean Driver makes them easy

FASHION. PLATE. | Dean Driver knows how to make a tabletop pop — and how to make it easy on you to choose your gifts. (Arnold Wayne Jones/Dallas Voice)

BY RICH LOPEZ

Perhaps the one wedding tradition same-sex couples might waffle on is signing up for that beg-a-thon, the gift registry. Forget whether to do so (you should); the real question is, where can you find that particular china pattern you once saw in a magazine?

The answer to that question is probably Dean Driver. With his new company, Consilium Lifestyle Collections, Driver makes what could be a daunting (even intimidating) task for same-sex couples possibly the easiest  job out of all the wedding planning.

“I don’t know if the average gay couple feels comfortable going into stores,” Driver says. “They may, but many retailers just aren’t reaching out to gay couples.”

Teaming up with Consilium Creative Marketing, Driver created what may be the first by-appointment source of its kind in Dallas to provide a wedding gift registry for same-sex couples. While the services are for everyone, Driver believes that this personal touch can bring comfort to any gay newlyweds hesitant about how to sign up for gifts. It also gives them a home field advantage when looking for fine tabletop products and more.

“The way we do business is changing, and this has afforded me the ability to do in-home consultations and also wedding registries,” Driver says. “I come to the client with samples to get an idea of their lifestyle and suggest products and can see what will work with what’s already in the home.”

The affable Driver knows his stuff. After working with tabletop industries for years in large markets like New York, he has access to many luxury brands and even unique home products. The usual china and crystal items are no problem, but items like linens and household accessories are more easily available through him.

Driver’s first piece of advice on getting started with a registry: Don’t be intimidated.

“I demystify all that for you,” he says. “That’s what I’m here for. I’ll make it easier for you. And people shouldn’t think that everything offered in a registry costs so much. We do have some unique options that are moderately priced.”

Consilium has only been around for a few months, but it has burst out of the gate with a selection of up to 50 brands, some exclusive to them. And with Driver’s knowledge and background, he can pretty much get anybody anything they want.

“I’m a sort of an expert in tabletops, and I have my finger on the pulse of the industry,” he says. “I go to Paris, to Milan and see all the new patterns. And if you saw a plate in a magazine and brought it to me,  I could pinpoint what it is. When I say anything, I mean anything — and you may be only person in the country to have it.”

Something his company can guarantee is the death of that most dreaded wedding tradition: The return. Once items are selected for the registry, gift givers don’t have to worry about buying an item that’s already been purchased. Instead, the company does gift cards only, which are beautifully packaged for the giver to present.

“This prevents exchanges or duplicates,” he says. “Plus, clients may change their minds and gift cards give them an opportunity to get something else. And it’s a little more green without all that wrapping paper and shipping to worry about.”

Driver and company seems to have gotten rid of all the excuses couples can make to partake in registering for gifts. Being that a wedding is a life-changing event, Driver mostly wonders why not go all out?

“Couples shouldn’t shy away from getting nice things,” he says. “This is the one time to get the nice stuff, so why not? Anything you want, I can get.”

The only caveat — Driver encourages people to use the nice stuff everyday.

“Yeah, don’t pack it away in a cabinet like our parents did,” he says.

Of course, if there’s one thing gays know how to do it’s merchandise.

For more information, visit ConsiliumLifestyleCollections.com.

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition May 6, 2011.

—  Michael Stephens

In wake of tax cut compromise, Howard Dean asks ‘what about DADT?’

Good point from Howard Dean in the last graf of this excerpt, below. What about DADT? Why wasn’t it included int his tax cut deal? The GOP got their top priority, why didn’t we include more of our priorities in this deal? I think it’s going to be very difficult to get anything else passed in the Senate, now that the GOP has already been given what they want. Once you trade away your biggest chit, you’re kind of SOL.

Sam Stein at Huff Post:

Obama’s decision to craft a deal with Republicans on the Bush tax cuts … has created deep reservoirs of distrust with the president’s ability to handle high-stakes negotiations and has compelled even former staffers to level blunt criticisms about the White House’s politics. “I think the president made a huge mistake in supporting any extension of tax cuts,” said Steve Hildebrand, the deputy national director of Obama’s presidential campaign and a strategist who has long grown sour on Washington. “We can’t afford it as a country, and we should recognize that. We need his leadership and bipartisan congressional leadership on it. And the whole idea of negotiating with Republicans who won’t negotiate in good faith, it is not the direction the president should be taking.” [...]

“We clearly have to deal with the deficit; it is probably the biggest problem facing the country,” said former DNC header Howard Dean. “But you can’t deal with the deficit from a political point of view if you say to Democrats, we are going to cut Social Security and Medicare and, by the way, give tax cuts to those who make a million dollars a year.”

Antipathy, however, was saved as much for the process of securing the final tax cut package as for the substance of the package itself. Suggesting that the deal could die in the House, Dean echoed a question other Democrats offered in the hours after Obama’s announcement: Was enough secured in return?

“I’m not so sure you can get the House to agree to this in conference committee,” he said. “And what about the president’s other priorities: Don’t Ask Don’t Tell, START, DREAM Act? I mean, do we not get anything for the 0 billion?”




AMERICAblog Gay

—  admin

Watch: Catholic Students Protest Firing of Lesbian Dean

Lesbian_dean

On Friday I posted about Christine Judd, the athletic director and dean of students at Cathedral High School in Springfield, Massachusetts, who was forced out after marrying her female partner. On Friday, dozens of students and supporters came out to protest in her defense.

"Springfield Diocese Spokesperson Mark Dupont says Bishop Timothy McDonnell was not available for an interview Sunday. But Dupont says these students' accusations are just speculation, and this is not a moral issue, but an employment issue. Judd agreed to abide by school policy, which clearly indicates that administration members must uphold the doctrine and teachings of the Catholic Church. 'She has acknowledged to her credit, that she undertook actions this past summer, which were in violation of an agreement she freely accepted. Casting aside what she did, the nub of the issue is that we ask people to make agreements and we ask people to keep those agreements,' said Dupont."

Watch, AFTER THE JUMP


Towleroad News #gay

—  John Wright

MASSACHUSETTS: Catholic High Schoolers Rally In Support Of Lesbian Dean

Students at Cathedral High School in Springfield, Massachusetts took to the streets this weekend to express their disgust over the forced resignation of their dean, Christine Judd, who was asked to leave the school after 12 years because she had married a woman over the summer break.

“Without being specific to this matter, it should be clear that all employees of our Catholic schools are made aware of our policies and regulations,” said diocesan spokesman Mark E. Dupont. “This includes language that clearly states that whenever by public example, an employee engages in or espouses conduct which contravenes the doctrine and teaching of the Catholic Church, that employee may be subject to disciplinary action. To do otherwise would be in contradiction to the values we believe in and are teaching in these same schools,” he said.

Watch this clip of these great kids. It’ll give you hope.

Joe. My. God.

—  John Wright

School official loses job after marrying partner

Associated Press

SPRINGFIELD, Mass. — A top administrator at a Springfield Catholic school says she was forced out of her job after marrying her female partner last month.

Christine Judd, who served as dean of students and athletic director at Cathedral High School, tells The Republican newspaper that she met with school officials on Wednesday, Sept. 1 and was given the choice of resigning or getting fired.

Judd said she was “hurt,” and is exploring her legal options. Although gay marriage is legal in Massachusetts, it is against church policy.

Judd worked at the school for 12 years, beginning as a science teacher in 1998. She became dean of students six years ago and athletic director three years ago.

A spokesman for the Springfield Diocese said Judd resigned, but would not discuss the reasons for her resignation.

—  John Wright

Out lesbian abruptly removed from dean position at Texas A&M University-Commerce

Christine Evans

An open lesbian has been unexpectedly removed from her position as dean of the College of Arts & Sciences at Texas A&M University-Commerce, and the student newspaper reports that “questions have been raised” about whether sexual orientation was a factor.

Christine Evans was removed as dean and given a position as a professor in the agriculture department. Evans told The East Texan that her sexual orientation “probably” wasn’t the reason for her removal as dean. But she adds that even if it was, she would have no recourse. Neither the university policy, nor state or federal law, includes employment protections for gays and lesbians.

“I am openly lesbian, and have made no attempt to either trumpet or hide that orientation,” Evans said. “I’m quite certain that most people on campus and in Commerce who have interacted with me to any extent are aware of that. I can also add that I have had no direct experience of mistreatment or different treatment related to the issue. …

“My personal opinion is that my sexual orientation was probably not the reason for my dismissal,” she said. “Further, although it hasn’t been shared with me, I would be very disappointed if I were to learn that my career status had been so abruptly altered by something so insubstantial.”

The provost of the university, Larry Lemanski, says Evans’ removal was a “personnel matter” and that he wanted to move the college “in a new direction.”

While Evans isn’t publicly claiming anti-gay discrimination, she did take an apparent swipe at the administration.

“It will be refreshing to have a supervisor I respect and colleagues I can trust,” she said.

—  John Wright

Gay Dean Marries Wife, Gets Canned

Christine M. Judd x390 (Cathedral High School) | ADVOCATE.COMAn athletic director at a high school in Springfield, Mass. said she was
pressured to leave her position because she married her wife last
month.
Advocate.com: Daily News

—  John Wright

A Gay Portrait of James Dean

JAMES PRESTON JAMES DEAN X390James Preston, star of ABC’s The Gates, stars in a new movie exploring the gay side of James Dean. Watch the trailer here. 
Advocate.com: Daily News

—  John Wright