Hundreds attend Brockport town hall regarding Chief Diversity Officer’s controversial firing


BROCKPORT, N.Y. (WROC) — A town hall forum took place at the College at the Brockport Monday night, where an interim Chief Diversity Officer was named in the wake Friday’s controversial firing of Dr. Cephas Archie.

Hundreds of students are in attendance of the town hall forum, including Rochester Mayor Lovely Warren, who was critical of the college’s firing over the weekend.

Brockport officials wouldn’t let TV camera crews in during the town hall event Monday night.

In video given to news 8 by students at the college, a line can be seen as many took the microphone looking for answers.

President of the college, Heidi Macpherson said legally she can not answer a lot of questions as to why she fired Dr. Archie.

“I’m sorry that people are feeling confused and angry. I understand that anger I accept that anger and I think we need to move forward after that. Thank you,” said Heidi Macpherson President at the College of Brockport.

Jerry Thompson was selected by student groups to present a list of goals and questions here. He says he knew Dr. Archie and worked as a graduate diversity fellow within his office.

“Collectively as a group our main focus was trying to get Dr. Archie reinstated,” said Thompson. “Throughout the responded tonight I feel as though, we did get some answers but not nearly as many answers as we needed.”

Many told said the larger turn out proved just how big an impact Dr. Archie had on the community.

Other Brockport staff and Brockport alumni spoke out.

“What happened tonight was very instructive. you know when we saw speaker after speaker after speaker talking about the impact that he had on them it says a lot about the impact that he was having on the community,” said Vince Felder, a Brockport Alumni.

“The questions is what will she do when she goes back home what will she do when she’s sitting down will she considers what’s been happening here. Can she recognize that just maybe you made a mistake,” said Gary Owens, director of the educational opportunity program at the college.

When preside Macpherson was asked if there was any chance of Dr. Archie being re-instated, the president didn’t say yes or no but reiterated that Dr. Archie is no longer a member of the college and the search is on for the new chief diversity officer.

Around 100 Brockport students marched in support of Dr. Archie on Friday night after news of his firing spread through the campus.

The following day, Rochester Mayor Lovely Warren criticized The College at Brockport on Facebook over the firing of Dr. Archie.

At this time, News 8 does not know why Dr. Archie was let go, but he did tell us it was related to his performance.

In a statement sent to News 8, Dr. Archie thanks everyone who has reached out and supported him over the past few days.

He goes on to say, “As Chief Diversity Officer (CDO) at The College at Brockport, it was my privilege to champion collective attention to the needs and hopes of all; intentionally honoring our differences yet celebrating our commonalities. Inclusion agendas and personnel will never be successful if it is the responsibility of one, and not the expectation of all.”

On Monday afternoon, President Heidi Macpherson announced the Interim Chief Diversity Officer will be Dr. Lorraine Acker. Dr. Acker currently works as the Assistant Vice President for Student Affairs.

Check back with News 8 WROC as we will continue to update this developing story.

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