Fired Brockport Chief Diversity Officer: ‘I remain with you always in solidarity’

Local News

BROCKPORT, N.Y. (WROC) — The former Chief Diversity Officer at The College at Brockport, Dr. Cephas Archie, is speaking out after being fired on Friday.

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.”

Just to be clear, News 8 does not know why he was let go. Dr. Archie told News 8 it was related to his performance.

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.

Around 100 Brockport students marched in support of Dr. Archie on Friday night.

Over the weekend, Rochester Mayor Lovely Warren blasted The College at Brockport over the firing of Dr. Archie.

Dr. Archie ends his statement by saying, “I am extremely proud of the meaningful impact our work has had on the lives of so many. The work must go on, for the true measure of a leader is the ability to inspire others to carry it forward. I remain with you always in solidarity.”

In a statement John Follaco, the Director of Communications for Brockport, said:

“While we are unable to comment on confidential personnel matters, we would like to ensure the Brockport community that our commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion is incredibly strong. We look forward to continuing to work together to build a better Brockport.”

A town hall is planned for Monday at 7 p.m. at the Seymour College Union in Brockport.

Dr. Archie’s statement:

President Macpherson statement:

I am writing to announce that Dr. Lorraine Acker will become the Interim CDO at The College at Brockport, with immediate effect. She will report directly to me. During this period of transition, Dr. Acker will maintain some of her current AVP for Student Affairs duties, while some of her current duties will be assigned to others. All of the Office of Equity, Diversity and Inclusion personnel will report to her. Dr. Acker will become a full member of the President’s Cabinet during this interim period. She will also be participating in tonight’s Town Hall, which will be held between 7-8pm at Seymour Union Ballroom. Dr. Acker was selected for this important role because of her ability to cultivate a common vision and collaborative culture. Throughout her career, she has demonstrated her commitment to the issues of inclusion, social justice, diversity, access, and equity. Statement from Dr. Acker: “As a proud Brockport alum (Class of ’99) and campus leader at The College of Brockport, I take pride in advocating for all students, motivating staff, and creating a culture of inclusive excellence for our campus. In my role as Interim Chief Diversity Officer, I look forward to partnering with students, faculty, staff and community stakeholders. In order to build a better Brockport, it is my goal to collaboratively identify and address opportunities and challenges to advance equity, diversity, and inclusion on our campus and our greater community.” Dr. Acker has more than 18 years of experience in higher education. As assistant vice president for student affairs, she provides leadership, strategic direction and administrative oversight in a variety of areas, including Brockport Student Government (BSG), Student Health, Counseling, Prevention & Outreach Services, Select Respect Center, Student Union & Activities, Campus Recreation, Community Development, Student Leadership Development, and others. She previously served as associate vice president for student affairs at Bennett College in North Carolina, where she established the center for leadership and civic engagement, reintroduced living learning communities, improved services within the student health center, and successfully advocated for enhanced co-curricular student engagement. Dr. Acker also served as director of the Margaret Sloss Women’s Center at Iowa State University. She also held student affairs leadership positions at University of North Carolina at Charlotte, University of Illinois Urbana Champaign, and Semester at Sea. Dr. Acker’s leadership extends nationally, where she serves on several national leadership boards, including College Student Educators International (ACPA), and the National Association for Student Personnel Administrators (NASPA). She is also the current co-chair for the African American Knowledge Community (AAKC), and on the editorial board for the Journal Committed to Social Change on Race and Ethnicity (JSCORE). She holds a bachelor’s degree in political science and African and African-American Studies from The College at Brockport, a master’s degree in College Student Personnel from Western Illinois University, and a Doctor of Philosophy from Iowa State University. As our Interim CDO, she will work collaboratively with divisions, offices, and individuals across campus, including students, as well as with the President’s Council on Diversity and Inclusion. She will take ownership of and responsibility for our Equity, Diversity and Inclusion (EDI) strategic plan, ensuring that we maintain the highest commitment to these important principles. We will shortly commence a national search for a permanent CDO, the details of which will be shared as soon as they are available. I hope you will join me in thanking Dr. Acker for taking on this important work, as we continue to Build a Better Brockport. 

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