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Anger over College at Brockport parting ways with its chief diversity officer

College at Brockport

The chief diversity officer at The College at Brockport has apparently been fired, and it’s resulted in a barrage of criticism of that move on social media.

The Democrat and Chronicle says that Cephas Archie confirmed that he was fired on Friday.

A spokesman for the college, John Follaco issued a statement saying that:

"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." 

Archie came to Brockport in August of 2017, and on WXXI’s Connections with Evan Dawsonearlier this month, he said his position came about after the SUNY Faculty Senate passed a resolution in 2015 that said every SUNY campus was to establish a chief diversity officer.

Archie was on Connections for a program about chief diversity officers, and during that show he spoke of positive steps being taken at Brockport to make diversity a more integral part of the campus culture.

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On Facebook, Mayor Lovely Warrenwrote that, "It’s my understanding that Dr. Archie was fighting against institutional and structural bias’ and for that he has been dismissed. It’s unfortunate when the people that work toward diversity and inclusion across the collegiate spectrum also face it themselves."

On Twitter, Shaun Nelms, the superintendent at East High School in Rochester said that many schools consulted with Archie to improve hiring practices. Nelms said that Archie is, “highly competent, hard-working and valued by the community.”

A number of other people also wrote tweets supporting Archie, with the hashtag, #weseeyou, or used the phrase, "We stand with Dr. Archie."

In a statement emailed to the Brockport campus community, college president Heidi Macpherson said that she cannot discuss the details of personnel matters, but wanted to emphasize the college has “an unwavering commitment to equity, diversity and inclusion.” She noted that the college has a diversity recruitment and retention specialist which was initially funded through a two-year grant, but it has now been made a permanent position.

Macpherson also wrote that, “Regarding the operations of the Office of Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion, interim measures will be announced soon, and we will shortly begin the process of conducting a national search for our next CDO.”

She also said that the campus community will have an opportunity to come together and discuss its concerns at a town hall meeting Monday, January 27, from 7-8 pm in the Seymour Union Ballroom.

Randy Gorbman is WXXI's director of news and public affairs. Randy manages the day-to-day operations of WXXI News on radio, television, and online.