Ken Hare In Depth: Not first time ASU accused of reverse racism - WSFA.com Montgomery Alabama news.

Ken Hare In Depth: Not first time ASU accused of reverse racism

  • THE GREAT OUTDOORSKen Hare's Natural AlabamaMore>>

  • Natural Alabama

    Boat trip into Mobile-Tensaw Delta is magical

    Boat trip into Mobile-Tensaw Delta is magical

    Sunday, November 5 2017 9:34 AM EST2017-11-05 14:34:07 GMT
    A Bald Eagle soaring over the delta (Photo Ken Hare)A Bald Eagle soaring over the delta (Photo Ken Hare)

    To truly grasp the importance of protecting the Mobile-Tensaw Delta , I recommend a boat trip into the heart of "Alabama's Amazon."

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    To truly grasp the importance of protecting the Mobile-Tensaw Delta , I recommend a boat trip into the heart of "Alabama's Amazon."

    More >>
  • Natural Alabama

    Australian native now Alabama shorebird expert

    Australian native now Alabama shorebird expert

    Monday, October 30 2017 6:05 AM EDT2017-10-30 10:05:33 GMT
    Field trip leader Andrew Haffenden points out a warbler at the Fort Morgan stables area. (Photo Ken Hare).jpgField trip leader Andrew Haffenden points out a warbler at the Fort Morgan stables area. (Photo Ken Hare).jpg

    NA Andrew Natural Alabama 10-27-17 Australian native now Alabama shorebird expert By Ken Hare Advice to new birders from anywhere: Get to know good birders, and go with them on trips into the field to see birds whenever you can. It is one of the best ways I know to learn about birds and birding. Advice to new birders who bird (or want to bird) on the Alabama coast: Get to know Andrew Haffenden, and go with him into the field every chance you get.  It is one of the best ways ...

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    NA Andrew Natural Alabama 10-27-17 Australian native now Alabama shorebird expert By Ken Hare Advice to new birders from anywhere: Get to know good birders, and go with them on trips into the field to see birds whenever you can. It is one of the best ways I know to learn about birds and birding. Advice to new birders who bird (or want to bird) on the Alabama coast: Get to know Andrew Haffenden, and go with him into the field every chance you get.  It is one of the best ways ...

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  • Ken Hare's Natural Alabama

    Dauphin Island, Fort Morgan deliver great birds

    Dauphin Island, Fort Morgan deliver great birds

    Saturday, October 21 2017 9:50 AM EDT2017-10-21 13:50:02 GMT
    Greater Yellowlegs (Photo Ken Hare).jpgGreater Yellowlegs (Photo Ken Hare).jpg

    Among the highlights of the year for many Alabama birders are the fall and spring meetings of the Alabama Ornithological Society on Dauphin Island. The fall meeting earlier this month did not disappoint, despite part of the island remaining off limits because of lingering damage from Hurricane Nate.

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    Among the highlights of the year for many Alabama birders are the fall and spring meetings of the Alabama Ornithological Society on Dauphin Island. The fall meeting earlier this month did not disappoint, despite part of the island remaining off limits because of lingering damage from Hurricane Nate.

    More >>
MONTGOMERY, AL (WSFA) -

If a white professor is successful in his recently filed lawsuit alleging that Alabama State University is guilty of racial discrimination, it won't be the first time. Decades ago, ASU was found to have discriminated against white faculty and staff members by none other than the late federal Judge Frank M. Johnson, Jr.

In the 1960s and 1970s, Johnson's landmark court rulings broke down many racial barriers that had kept blacks from enjoying  their full freedoms under our Constitution.  But many readers probably don't recall that Johnson also found in a 1978 ruling that the administration at ASU had discriminated against whites in hiring and promotions from the date the university was desegregated in 1967.

 Asked about that early "reverse discrimination" ruling, Johnson said in a later interview that "discrimination against whites by blacks is just as unconstitutional as whites discriminating against blacks."

Because of that ruling by Johnson, ASU operated for years under a federal court order not to discriminate against whites or non-black minorities in hiring and promotions.

But recently Dr. John Garland, a white professor, filed a discrimination suit in federal court that claims university officials targeted him and his gay partner after they complained about what they believed were racially discriminatory practices.

Garland maintains in his lawsuit that ASU officials made racially discriminatory statements, including statements to the effect that ASU existed to serve black students and that "black students are best taught by black faculty members."

Anyone can claim almost anything in a lawsuit, so the public should keep an open mind on whether the myriad claims of racial discrimination by ASU officials contained in this latest lawsuit will hold up.

But if they are true, ASU officials would do well to remember the words of the late Judge Johnson, who said ASU's discrimination against whites at that time was "just as bad, just as illegal and just as unconstitutional" as whites discriminating against blacks.

ASU still under SACS microscope

Late last year Alabama State University officials publicly tried to minimize the impact of an inquiry by its accrediting agency, the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools. ASU officials responded to SACS concerns about improper actions by university trustees and questionable contracts by issuing what amounted to an outright denial of all the allegations.

SACS seemingly moves at a glacial pace. After its inquiry last October and ASU's response in December, it took SACS until last week to finally act. And even then, SACS just placed ASU under a six-month warning and said it would send a team during that six months to check to ensure that the problem areas were being addressed.

But just because a glacier moves slowly doesn't mean the results of that  movement aren't powerful. A glacier can scour out valleys and shift huge boulders for miles. If SACS isn't satisfied that ASU officials are addressing those problems it cited, the accrediting agency could come down even harder on the university.

Based on President Gwendolyn Boyd's statements concerning SACS in an interview with me and other WSFA journalists several weeks ago, it appears that she will do her best to ensure that SACS is satisfied. But the question remains whether the ASU board of trustees will allow her to do what is necessary to allay the fears of SACS and the public about issues that have been raised at ASU.

It is, after all, the board itself that is at the heart of several of the issues in question.

The stakes are huge. SACS conceivably even could remove accreditation from ASU. While such harsh action is highly unlikely, if it did occur it could devastate the university. Accreditation is linked to the ability of students to receive federal aid, and about 80 percent of ASU students receive federal grants or loans.

But it should never come to that. The trustees and administration at ASU should do everything in their power to cooperate with federal and state investigations at ASU and to ensure that SACS is satisfied that any and all issues it has raised have been fully addressed.

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Ken Hare was a longtime Alabama newspaper editorial writer and editorial page editor who now writes a regular column for WSFA's web site. Email him at khare@wsfa.com.

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