Report finds ‘culture/climate issues with racial undertones’ at Manchester Community College – NBC Connecticut

An investigation sparked by accusations of discrimination against black and female employees at Manchester Community College found “a history of cultural/climatic issues with racial undertones,” according to a report released earlier this month.

The report says there is evidence to suggest that over the past 20 years the school “has encountered challenges related to diversity and in particular race and gender”. .

The investigation was initiated based on a complaint filed with the Connecticut State Colleges and Universities Equal Employment Opportunity Office and examined the school climate over the last two decades. He addressed the issue of diversity in hiring as well as allegations of harassment against current faculty members. The report noted that some of the cases described by the witnesses had not been previously reported.

With respect to hiring, investigators found that MCC encountered diversity issues, particularly race and gender. The report highlighted a period in 2012 when 20 people were hired, all white, and described how promoting women of color to certain positions during that time without conducting formal searches “raised tensions” at the school.

The report also examined allegations of harassment of black female employees and highlighted an incident in which the credentials of two recently promoted black female employees were publicly questioned via a school email system. The report called this type of questioning “unprecedented” and several witnesses said they believed the email communication, sent by another professor, was intended to “publicly humiliate” the named employees. Some witnesses felt the email was racially motivated, pointing out that when white employees were promoted, there was no public discussion of their credentials. In this case, investigators recommended that the professor who sent the email be found guilty of violating the MCC Harassment Statement and other policies. This professor retired before the publication of the report.

Dr. Jane Gates, acting president of Connecticut State Colleges and Universities, called the results “unacceptable.”

“CSCU has thoroughly investigated complaints about cultural and climate concerns at Manchester Community College. The findings show significant racial and gender issues on campus. This is unacceptable and it must stop. The investigation contained specific recommendations to improve the climate and culture of MCC, and CSCU is committed to ensuring that these recommendations are implemented,” she wrote in a statement.

Lucy Hurston, a longtime MCC sociology professor who retired in January, filed the original complaint with the Office of Equal Employment Opportunity. She released a statement describing “repeated efforts to address racism and inequality against Black MCC faculty and staff,” and called on school leaders to take racial concerns more seriously at school. ‘coming.

Teresa H. Sadler