A&M Professor Details His Harassment
We recently wrote about Mundhir Ridha, an Iraqi scientist who filed a lawsuit against Texas A&M University and a group its professors, alleging harassment and discrimination.
Ridha was in Houston this week, and he agreed to sit down and talk with us about working at Texas A&M.
"They put me and wife in a trailer outside the building, and it was not fit for a human being to work over there," Ridha says.
The scientists moved Ridha out of the lab because, he says, he made a formal complaint to the university about ongoing harassment and ridicule from the other researchers. About four months later, he was fired.
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"I tolerated the pain, the depression, and they treated me very badly, but when they continued doing this to me, I couldn't take it," Ridha says. "I don't understand. Why invite me to work if you don't like me?
The worst of the allegations is that one of the A&M professors dumped a dirty animal cage onto a prayer rug that Ridha kept in a corner of the lab.
"I want to put an end to this discrimination and religious persecution at A&M," Ridha says. "We want to be certain that nobody after us will be exposed to this treatment."
Shane McClelland, Ridha's attorney, filed a new statement from a student working in the lab when Ridha was there. "I was reluctant to provide information because I feared that [the A&M scientists] would retaliate against me for speaking out against their conduct," the student said. "Despite my concerns, I participated in the interview because [the research lab] is a hostile work environment, and I do not want other people to endure what Drs. Ridha and Muhsen had to endure."
The case is pretty much at a standstill until a judge rules on a motion filed by the university to dismiss the lawsuit.
-- Paul Knight
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