ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WROC) — Monroe County Legislature Minority Leader Vince Felder, a 2001 SUNY Brockport graduate, is calling on SUNY Chancellor Kristina Johnson to investigate “the series of events that have broken the trust the college’s administration had with the community.”
Recent events at the campus include:
- The controversial firing of Chief Diversity Officer Dr. Cephas Archie
- An employee filing of a charge of discrimination with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission
- The resignation of a Brockport’s Diversity Recruitment and Retention Specialist
- Widespread student protests regarding recent “racial issues” on campus
- Chief of university police’s alleged attempt to “dig up dirt’ on Dr. Archie
“This needs to be investigated from the outside. Nothing done internally at the college level will be trusted at this point. The students and the community deserve no less,” Felder said in part, in a statement.
The student protests on campus feel all too familiar to Felder, who started at Brockport as a freshman in 1983.
“On behalf of the students there who I see going through the same things I was going through a long time ago and many others have gone through a long time ago I am very angry because I think they deserve better than this,” Felder said.
In the letter to the SUNY Chancellor, Felder wrote:
“The diversity issue at SUNY Brockport must be treated as the crisis it has proven to be and must be dealth with in a way that produces sustainable and verifiable results. The lack of persons of color in any meaningful senior management positions is unacceptable. Consider this:
- 100% white cabinet
- 100% white police department
- 100% white HR department
- 100% white reporting complaint structures
- 100% white policy committee
- 100% white shared governance task force
The African-American male Chief Diversity Officer, Dr. Archie, was not part of any of the listed structures. The College President has since made the interim CDO part of her cabinet. This is a case of too little, too late.”
He said students of color need to have role models at the very top.
“They should be able to come to a campus that has role models on the campus at every level of the institution that look like them and can relate to them so they can see themselves and it motivates them to do better.”
Felder also called for Dr. Archie to be reinstated pending the results of the investigation.
A SUNY Brockport official said this in a statement in response to the letter:
“We have great respect for Legislator Felder and are proud to call him an alumnus of The College at Brockport. We share his concerns about the current climate at the College and are working diligently, in coordination with SUNY system administration, to address it.“