A Black journalism professor in Texas has reached a $1 million settlement with Texas A&M University after the school botched her hiring process over right-wing pushback on her past work with diversity, equity, and inclusion programs.
According to AP, Texas A&M University agreed to pay Kathleen McElroy the settlement and also issued an apology, admitting that “mistakes were made during the hiring process.”
In June, the university welcomed McElroy and was excited to give her the opportunity to revitalize its journalism department.
Prior to accepting the position at Texas A&M, McElroy, who is also a former New York Times editor, was in charge of the journalism program at the University of Texas at Austin.
Shortly after her hiring, McElroy learned that a group of individuals had been complaining about her past work improving diversity and inclusion in newsrooms.
Investigation documents, which were released Thursday, found that after Texas Scorecard, a right-wing website called attention to McElroy’s past DEI work, at least six Board of Regents members began, “asking questions and raising concerns about McElroy’s hiring.”
Kathleen McElroy’s spotlight by Texas Scorecard caused “numerous calls and emails to the President’s Office at TAMU” from students “raising questions about why a DEI proponent would be hired to serve as director of the new journalism program,” according to the investigation.
Following the pushback, Texas A&M University allegedly began considering changes and reductions to McElroy’s job offer.
Shortly afterward, the university’s president Katherine Banks and a school dean began discussing changes and reductions in the job offer to McElroy.
McElroy told the Tribune that the initial offer of a tenure-track position was reduced to a five-year post and then reduced again to a one-year position from which she could be fired at any time. She ultimately rejected the offer and withdrew her resignation from UT-Austin as a journalism professor.
Banks later told university faculty she had not been involved in making any changes to McElroy’s contract offer.
Republicans across the country have been targeting DEI programs in an effort to kill diversity initiatives.
The U.S. Supreme Court also joined Republican efforts to kill diversity by striking down Affirmative Action, ruling that race can not play a role in the college admissions process.
The university has admitted to its mistakes, stating that the school “has learned from its mistakes and will strive to ensure similar mistakes are not repeated in the future.”
Kathleen McElroy is also ready to move forward with her life and her commitment to education.
“I hope the resolution of my matter will reinforce A&M’s allegiance to excellence in higher education and its commitment to academic freedom and journalism,” she told AP.
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