Listen Live
Fantastic Voyage Generic Graphics Updated Nov 2023
Black America Web Featured Video

A white male professor at a historically black Tuskegee University is suing the university and claiming he’s being discriminated against because of his race and age.

As reported by USA Today, Marshall Burns, a professor of physics, filed a federal discrimination lawsuit July 19, alleging that despite putting in four-decades of work at the university, he’s not being paid what he’s worth. Burns alleges he’s pulling in $18,000 to $30,000 less than younger professors. Burns took legal action after talks with Tuskegee over the last year failed.

“I’m not a greedy person,” he said. “I applaud people who are successful. They’ve earned it. I think I’ve earned it, but I haven’t received it. I have tried and tried and tried everything I know.”

According to court records, Burns began working at Tuskegee in 1976 as an assistant professor and by 1980 he was promoted to full professor. During his tenure “he wrote a textbook, lobbied the Legislature for increased university funding and helped found the school’s physics major during his tenure at the school,” USA Today writes.

Burns claims he’s being paid a salary on par with what associate professors make, $60,500, while younger full professors are bagging between $78,000 to $90,000. He has requested a raise at least 12 times.

At a Tuesday press conference, Burn explained why he didn’t consider leaving Tuskegee for another job, describing his students as “the cream of the crop.”

“I’ve had what I consider to be exceptional students,” he said. “At Tuskegee, I’ve had classes with students who are go-getters and very smart. That’s what gives me enthusiasm to teach.”

In his lawsuit, Burns notes that he would have earned an additional $400,000 over his career had he beenpaid a full professor’s rate in 1980 at the time of his promotion.

“That’s an enormous amount of money to me,” he said. “It could have made a world of difference to me raising a family of four kids.”

Despite the lawsuit, Burns will return to the classroom this fall when classes begin, teaching nine two-hour physics labs, the report states.

Celebrities Who Attended HBCUs
The Alfred Mann Foundation's Annual Black-Tie Gala
30 photos