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SUNY Chancellor plans to visit Rochester to talk about Brockport concerns

Feb 13, 2020

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The head of the SUNY system has written to Rochester Mayor Lovely Warren, responding to concerns she has raised about diversity issues at the College at Brockport.

Warren wrote to SUNY Chancellor Kristina Johnson late last month, expressing what she called her “grave concern and frustration” about the situation involving former Chief Diversity Officer Cephas Archie.

Archie was fired last month, although Brockport officials say they were not able to provide detail over why he was let go, because it was a personnel matter.

That brought a strong reaction from the campus community including Mayor Warren who expressed concern not only over Archie’s firing, but what she said is a lack of progress addressing system racism at the Brockport campus.

In a letter this week, the chancellor said the issues raised by the mayor are of great concern to her and the entire SUNY system. Johnson wrote to Warren that, "it is disheartening to learn that you feel our students, faculty and staff of color do not feel welcom. This is not acceptable."

Johnson wrote that she plans to visit Rochester in the near future and would welcome the opportunity to meet with the mayor to talk about ways to better serve local residents.

There was a student protest on the Brockport campus on Thursday, and the president of the college, Heidi Macpherson sent a letter to the campus community outlining several steps she is taking including undertaking an immediate review of the diversity of every department at Brockport, and working with Rodman King, the chief diversity officer for SUNY Oswego, who will advise Macpherson to help address concerns about the climate at the Brockport campus.

Macpherson also committed to hold additional community conversations at designated areas around campus with students, faculty and staff of color to hear issues and concerns that need to be resolved.

The letter from the SUNY Chancellor, the message from President Macpherson, and Mayor Warren's letter are below:

Chancellor Letter to Mayor Warren by WXXI News on Scribd

Macpherson Letter to Campus Community by WXXI News on Scribd

Letter From Mayor Warren to Chancellor Johnson by WXXI News on Scribd