A&M Professor Details His Harassment

Keep Houston Press Free
I Support
  • Local
  • Community
  • Journalism
  • logo

Support the independent voice of Houston and help keep the future of Houston Press free.

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.

"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

Keep the Houston Press Free... Since we started the Houston Press, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Houston, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering Houston with no paywalls.

We use cookies to collect and analyze information on site performance and usage, and to enhance and customize content and advertisements. By clicking 'X' or continuing to use the site, you agree to allow cookies to be placed. To find out more, visit our cookies policy and our privacy policy.


Join the Press community and help support independent local journalism in Houston.


Join the Press community and help support independent local journalism in Houston.