A white Camden County College chemistry professor says he is earning less than black engineering professors at the institution and has lodged a racial discrimination suit in federal court.
The Philadelphia Inquirer reported that longtime professor William T. Lavell alleges in the suit that he had endured “severe emotional distress, embarrassment, humiliation and loss of self-esteem” and claims there are “stark racial disparities” between his pay and that of two black professors.
“According to the lawsuit, Lavell and two engineering professors, Lawrence Chatman and Melvin Roberts, held the same position of professor and have similar qualifications and tenure. Lavell holds three professional degrees in his area of certification, while Roberts holds two and Chatman holds one, the lawsuit says,” according to the Inquirer.
The suit says that the each of the black professors’ 2020 salaries are tens of thousands of dollars more than Lavell’s salary.
“Chatman’s salary for 2020 was $137,157, while Roberts’ salary for 2021 was $142,600, according to the suit. Lavell’s salary for 2021 is $91,923, the lawsuit says. The filing did not indicate where Lavell’s salary ranked when compared with other chemistry professors in his department,” the outlet reported.
The suit says Lavell learned of the pay level differences after seeking salary records through the state’s Open Public Records Act.
He later “filed a race discrimination complaint with college president Donald Borden and other school officials, according to the lawsuit,” the outlet reported. “A proposal by Lavell to bring his salary in line with nonwhite counterparts was rejected, the lawsuit says. Lavell also submitted a comparative analysis of the racial salary disparities between him and nonwhites, the lawsuit said. School officials refused to investigate his complaint, the suit said.”