USDA OCR Investigates Employment Discrimination in Texas Extension Service

Top Story of Jan. 1999:

Alleged Discriminators Serve on All White Top Staff at TAEX Headquarters

TCRR NEWS (Jan. 18, 1999) AUSTIN, TX–Civil Rights investigators have spent nearly one year looking into complaints of racist employment practices at the Texas Agricultural Extension Service.

The probe by the Office of Civil Rights for the USDA is the second federal civil rights investigation now underway in Texas. In the summer of 1997, the Department of Education also launched a civil rights inquiry into vestiges of segregation in Texas higher education.

Both inquiries have focused substantial attention upon the College Station campus of the Texas A&M University System, which serves as Texas headquarters for the agricultural extension service.

Top administrators at TAEX have been virtually all white since the extension service was founded in 1914. Two black administrators have been hired and retired since the Civil Rights Act of 1964. Today, the top twelve administrators at TAEX are white.

The USDA investigation was prompted by a complaint signed by six veteran black employees alleging systematic racial discrimination in pay and promotion.

Two defendants named in a 1993 discrimination suit are among the top twelve administrators at TAEX. The plaintiff in that case was awarded an out-of-court settlement in 1996.

Both USDA and DOE report that their investigations are ongoing.

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