Evans removed as dean of Arts and Sciences
Published: Wednesday, September 1, 2010
Updated: Wednesday, September 1, 2010 12:09
Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences Christine Evans was removed from her office this summer and offered a position as a professor in the agriculture department.
Professor in the Literature and Language department Dr. Sal Attardo will hold the position while a national search is conducted to fill it, Provost Larry Lemanski said.
Evans said although there was obvious planning involved in her removal, she had no part in it.
"From my side this was entirely a surprise," she said.
Questions as to whether Evans' sexual orientation played a role in her dismissal were raised, but Evans said she does not think it was a factor in her removal.
"I am openly lesbian, and have made no attempt to either trumpet or hide that orientation," she said. "I'm quite certain that most people on campus and in Commerce who have interacted with me to any extent are aware of that. I can also add that I have had no direct experience of mistreatment or different treatment related to the issue."
Even if her orientation was the reason for her removal, Evans said it would have been legally irrelevant.
"I don't believe that Texas or the A&M University system include sexual orientation on their list of characteristics with specific civil rights protection," she said.
Public Education Director for the American Civil Liberties Union of Texas Dottie Griffith confirmed there is no state law prohibiting discrimination against gay Americans. She said the Employment Discrimination Act of 2009 was introduced in congress as a federal protection for homosexuals in the work place, but has not been passed.
Calls to the A&M University system's human resources department were not returned as of press time.
"My personal opinion is that my sexual orientation was probably not the reason for my dismissal," she said. "Further, although it hasn't been shared with me, I would be very disappointed if I were to learn that my career status had been so abruptly altered by something so insubstantial."
Lemanski said Evans' transition from dean to faculty member is a personnel matter and is being handled by human resources. Evans said Lemanski cited wanting to move the college in a new direction as one of the reasons for her removal.
"The College of Arts and Sciences follows the university's mission to continually pursue new and innovative ways to provide students with a quality education," Lemanski said.
Several programs were listed by Lemanski in an e-mail, which represent the progress on the college. Some of these were the addition of a nursing program by fall of 2011, a construction engineering program and a master's program in criminology and political science.
Evans said she is looking forward to joining the agriculture department as a professor.
"It will be refreshing to have a supervisor I respect and colleagues I can trust," she said.
Despite her removal Evans said she tends to be an optimist and is looking forward to continuing her work.