A University of Texas at Austin professor is suing the university after a supposed race-related incident garnered retaliation by a supervisor.
History professor and plaintiff Alberto Martínez said the incident took place in the spring of 2018, after he distributed a report highlighting racial disparities in pay and promotions within the history department.
The lawsuit states that Martínez alerted his supervisor that there was "discrimination" and "marginalization" of Hispanic employees in the department, and that he was then appointed chair of the new "Committee on Equity" to review governance, salaries and promotions in the department.
Martínez drafted a report titled, "Report: Equity in Salaries and Raises," which included compensation records that revealed unequal pay and promotion in the history department, primarily among Black and Hispanic employees. The report was distributed on Oct. 15, 2018, according to the lawsuit.
Four days later, Martínez was told by a supervisor that the equity committee would be disbanded. Instead, the committee was maintained but the supervisor continually created subcommittees and appointed chairs to them without permission from Martinez.
Subsequently, the supervisor ceased meeting with Martínez in favor of the new subcommittee chairs. The lawsuit stated that the supervisor accused Martínez of creating a "toxic" work environment, making discriminatory and anti-semitic comments, sexual misconduct and degrading his female coworkers. The supervisor also reported Martínez to UT's Office of Inclusion and Equity, or OIE.
The lawsuit states that the supervisor's accusations are baseless and "entirely false." After eight months of interviews and investigations, OIE declared the supervisor's allegations against Martinez as false, according to the lawsuit.
The lawsuit states that based on the evidence, "it is clear that (the supervisor's) actions constitute retaliation against him for engaging in a protected activity" and that the supervisor hindered and undermined Martínez's work on the committee.
Martínez is seeking an injunction prohibiting UT from engaging in unlawful practices, "additional equitable relief as may be appropriate such as a raise to parity with White comparators, promotion, front pay, and court costs," attorneys fees and additional damages.
Austonia has reached out to UT for comment.
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Austin FC couldn't find the stamina to fight off a 2-0 loss against LAFC for their inaugural match on Saturday.
The match, which saw No. 21 Austin FC go head-to-head with No. 2 LAFC in Los Angeles, was broadcast nationally on FOX and FOX Deportes.
Salute the support. 👏
It's only the beginning for @AustinFC. pic.twitter.com/TduorqYr2y
— Major League Soccer (@MLS) April 18, 2021
Eleven players took the stage as Austin FC players for the first time, with five starters making their MLS debut. "Ringleader" Alex Ring took the captain's armband and wore it well. The defensive midfielder could be seen leading his teammates through their first ever match, but it wasn't enough to stage an Austin takeover in LA.
In the signature style of Head Coach Josh Wolff, the team played with quickness and intensity, nearly connecting on several fast breaks. It was harder for them to stay in front, however, something that Wolff credits with quick decision making and a tough LAFC defense.
"We have a quick attacking team, but I think when you make quick attacks and it fizzles it's just about some decision making," Wolff said. "Are we in position to finish attacks? If not, can we reestablish our attack and get stuff better?"
The club was given some generous breaks from No. 2 LAFC, who had one or both of their star DPs out for the half. While forward Diego Rossi is out for the entire match due to a hamstring injury, Carlos Vela was accidentally pulled too soon on what turned out to be a miscommunication.
"He gave us the sign that he needed to come off," LAFC Head Coach Bob Bradley said on broadcast. "I can't say more than maybe it's my fault."
LA pulled some dramatics and slowly gained more possession throughout the half, but ATXFC's defense wasn't initially as shaky as it seemed in preseason. Jhohan Romana has pulled his weight in getting the ball out of goal, and a 34-year old Matt Besler held his own in center back.
As the second half commenced, however, it became clear that LAFC had the advantage over Austin's first major league team.
Goalkeeper Brad Stuver had his work cut out for him, fending off 24 shot attempts, 11 of which were on goal. He didn't have much time to prepare, either: in the first 30 seconds of play, Stuver had already made a save to keep the match 0-0.
LAFC finally connected in the 61st minute of play as Corey Baird shot one into the bottom right corner. The team capitalized off their momentum and put one past Stuver a second time, drawing roars of approval from the LAFC crowd.
While some last-minute attempts from Jon Gallagher and others were made, Austin FC didn't have the endurance to bring a tie. After seven additional minutes of stoppage time, the club lost their first match 2-0.
While the scoreboard tells one story, Wolff said that the team did well considering the skill of LAFC and the pressure of their club debut.
"We've got to be realistic," Wolff said. "This is the first time this organization has been in front of TV with an opportunity to show itself and I think there were some promising moments. And we're going to maximize those and continue to try to develop those, but there's lots to build on."
The team may have lost, but it still won the support of thousands of Verde fans, dozens of which made it to watch their team's first match. When Stuver and the team made it to bthe stadium, Los Verdes fans were already there to show support, and Stuver said his wife saw the same back in Austin.
"The moment that we pulled into the stadium, we saw Black and Verde fans cheering us on as we got to the stadium," Stuver said. "During warm up, you can just look around and see different groups sitting in different sections of the stadium and it's just truly amazing to see the support in our first game. We know that we want to give the fans everything, because this we play for the city and we play for them."