Punished for Being Liberal, Alabama Prof Says

     BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (CN) – A tenured Latino professor claims the University of Alabama, Birmingham retaliated against him and other minority faculty who did not fit into the UAB’s “conservative, affluent, white atmosphere,” and forced out or forced into retirement professors the college considered “liberal, democratic and pro-union.”

     Glenn Feldman had worked since 1996 in the School of Business at the Center of Labor Education and Research (CLEAR) program, which is funded through the Legislature.
     On March 1, 2008, UAB appointed David Klock the new dean of its business school. Feldman claims Klock called the CLEAR program a “waste of resources” and was vocal in his intention to shut it down.
     “In an introductory with CLEAR officials, Klock questioned CLEAR’s value to the School of Business, stating that he was a ‘street fighter’ that had been hired as an ‘agent of change’ and that it is his intention to state ‘mini-revolutions’ among other departments in the business school by depicting CLEAR’s funding as a waste of resources,” according to the federal complaint.
     In response, Feldman claims, he recruited the help of the state Democratic Party and union officers to stop the closure of the CLEAR program. The United Steel Workers sent hundreds of faxes in support of CLEAR and together they were able to thwart the attempts of the dean to shut the program.
     Feldman says that in retaliation, his contract was cut by 3 months, his salary was reduced, his family health care was not paid for 3 months, he was denied a sabbatical, and after 13 years of teaching, the college questioned whether he was “academically qualified” to teach. Feldman says he tried on several occasions to appeal the decisions, but his appeals were “ignored.”
     He claims that Klock and the administration transferred the CLEAR program to Jefferson State Community College. He says Klock then called him to a meeting and told him to “have nothing more to do with the Labor Movement”.
     Klock then told him he would be fired, and when Feldman pointed out that he had tenure and could not be fired without cause, “Klock warned the plaintiff that there would be ‘pain … considerable pain,’ if he insisted on staying at UAB, according to the complaint.
     Feldman seeks damages for breach of contract, retaliation, discrimination, and civil rights violations. He is represented by James Wooten of Birmingham. The only defendant is the university.

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