Zelia Brown, a 55-year-old former manager of grants performance and compliance at HCC, was hired in February 2016 to manage the college’s state and federal grants.
The suit names four defendants: Houston Community College; HCC Chancellor Dr. Cesar Maldonado; HCC District III Trustee Dr. Adriana Tamez; and Janet May, HCC’s chief human resources officer.
The lawsuit also seeks to become a class action, to sue on behalf of Black employees who worked at HCC after May 2014 or are currently employed at the college.
In May, Dr. Pretta VanDible Stallworth, one of the Black trustees, requested a “forensic accounting” of HCC’s grant programs by an independent law firm because of the significant decrease in grant funding to the college system over the past several years.
On June 29, the other three Black trustees – Reagan Flowers, Ph.D., Rhonda Skillern-Jones and Cynthia Lenton-Gary, Ph.D. – issued a statement supporting a review of racial discrimination allegations: “As Trustees of Houston Community College System, we take any allegation against the college seriously.