ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WROC) — SUNY Brockport’s former Chief Diversity Officer Dr. Cephas Archie has accepted a position with the City of Rochester.
This news comes to light on the same day as Rochester Mayor Lovely Warren announced more than 400 city employees would be laid off due to the economic impact of COVID-19, but city officials say the timing is coincidental and that Dr. Archie was offered the position in early March before the pandemic began.
Dr. Archie’s position will be Chief Equity Officer. A statement from City of Rochester Communications Director Justin Roj Tuesday said:
“Dr. Cephas Archie has been hired by the City of Rochester as Chief Equity Officer. The City of Rochester is mandated by State and Federal law to have a manager oversee its Equal Employment Opportunity and Affirmative Action programs.
Dr. Archie’s hiring fills this role after his predecessor accepted a promotion. His start date was April 27 and he was offered his position on March 4, prior to the start of COVID-19 crisis locally.
Dr. Archie is a recognized leader in his field and we welcome him to City government to help us and our residents build a more just and equitable community.”
Dr. Archie was controversially fired from SUNY Brockport in January, and his departure led to on-campus protests from students.
The day after Dr. Archie was fired, Mayor Warren took to social media to criticize the university’s decision.
In a Facebook post, featuring pictures of Mayor Warren and Dr. Archie, she wrote in part, “It’s unfortunate when the people working towards diversity and inclusion across the collegiate spectrum also face it themselves.”
The following week, Mayor Warren chimed in again on the issue, saying “When you talk about the changes that need to happen with diversity officers a lot of people have CDOs in name only, but then it comes down to doing the work that really doesn’t happen,” said Warren. “So we’re talking about a larger issue, not just this particular issue, but across the board and spectrum.”
In the ensuing weeks, SUNY Brockport’s campus was swirling in conflict, including the release of an independent campus climate report said there is “serious and rather troubling developments taking place at the campus,” an employee filing a charge of discrimination, and a diversity recruiting specialist resigned. The SUNY Chancellor described the situation as “not acceptable.”
The saga continued when reports leaked that the University Chief of Police was caught trying to “dig up dirt” on Dr. Archive before he was fired.
When the independent campus climate report was released in full in February, the author said SUNY Brockport’s “campus and climate had deteriorated.”
Check back with News 8 WROC as we will continue to update this developing story.