White Professor Claims College Pays Black Colleagues Much More Than Him

A white professor is suing the college where he works for discrimination, claiming some of his Black colleagues make substantially more money than him despite having similar qualifications and experience.

William T. Lavell, 66, who teaches chemistry at Camden County College, filed the lawsuit on March 26, claiming racial bias over the discrepancies in pay between him and other members of staff.

According to the suit, seen by NJ.com, Lavell says he is paid between $45,000 and $50,000 less annually than two Black engineering professors. Lavell found out he is paid less after requesting the salary records under the state's public records law in September.

The suit names two of Lavell's counterparts—professors Melvin Roberts and Lawrence Chatman as being paid $137,157 and $142,606, respectively—as proof of racial bias as Lavell is only paid $91,923 in comparison.

All three professors have "similar tenure, qualifications, and experience" but Lavell has more "professional degrees in his field of concentration" than the others, according to the suit.

In November, Lavell complained to the college officials, including President Donald Borden and one of the college's vice presidents, Kathleen Kane, about the discrepancy.

Lavell said the complaint contained a "comparative analysis of the racial disparities in compensation between himself and similarly situated, non-Caucasian counterparts."

According to the lawsuit, Kane rejected his request for a salary increase and "failed and refused to investigate or address plaintiff Lavell's complaint of race discrimination."

The suit suggests claims racial bias is the reason for pay disparity, but does not cite other examples of discrimination.

According to Camden County College's website, Chatman has been at the school for 30 years, with Roberts teaching there for 31 years. Lavell taught at Camden's County College for more than 25 years

Lavell signaled he is seeking an amount greater than $150,000 in damages, including damages from loss of earnings and for mental anguish, distress and loss of self-esteem.

Lavell has also served in various other roles at the college, including department chair and interim dean for the Division of Mathematics, Science and Health Careers.

Camden County College has been contacted for comment.

Discussing the claim, Jamison Mark, an employment lawyer practicing in Springfield, told NJ.com that reverse discrimination suits usually have to meet a slightly higher standard in court as the plaintiff is not a member of a minority group, but added such laws are there for a reason

"Whether you're white, Black or brown, it doesn't matter, you can't be treated unfairly," he said.

Camden County College
A white professor at Camden County College is suing for racial discrimination claiming his Black colleagues make substantially more money than him despite having similar qualifications. Google Maps