Mayor Warren blasts Brockport for firing Chief Diversity Officer

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BROCKPORT, N.Y. (WROC) — Rochester Mayor Lovely Warren is blasting the College at Brockport over the firing of their Chief Diversity Officer.

Around 100 Brockport students agreed with the Mayor and Friday night marched in support of Dr. Cephas Archie.

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

The students and staff Friday night supporting Archie says he had a long legacy of making sure an environment was made for all at the school.

“That upset us. Because we’ve seen him do so much good. We seen so much progression. I personally worked with a group of students who normally would not have entered the college of Brockport, coming from all different walks of life. I watched them grow and go through real change and become better students and better people under his efforts,” says Gary Owens who worked with Archie at Brockport.

Student Jerry Thompson worked alongside Dr. Archie. “We need him,” says Thompson. “He helps a lot of students day in and day out.”

Brockport student and Army veteran Adam Perkel says Dr. Archie helped him transition from military life to student life. “I’d absolutely love to see (Dr. Archie) back on campus. He’s one of the few administrators who you really feel cares about everyone.”

Mayor Warren said online that “It’s unfortunate when the people working towards diversity and inclusion across the collegiate spectrum also face it themselves.

In a statement John Follaco, the Director of Communications with Brockport says, “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.”

Here is the full statement from the Brockport President, Heidi Macpherson:

“Many of you are aware of the events that transpired yesterday, including a peaceful student protest. You will be aware that I cannot discuss the details of personnel matters. I do, however, want to address the campus community regarding our College’s commitment to being an inclusive learning community. Both the leadership of the college more widely and I as your college president have an absolute and unwavering commitment to equity, diversity and inclusion. I’d like to share some examples of that commitment, including our commitment to recruiting and retaining underrepresented faculty and staff. One major example of this commitment is the fact that the College has invested in a diversity recruitment and retention specialist. This position was initially funded through a two-year grant from SUNY in early 2017; however, we believed in the need for this position so much that we have made this a permanent position funded by the College. Another example is that the College applied for and received funding to be a part of the SUNY PRODiG Program. PRODiG stands for Promoting Recruitment, Opportunity, Diversity, Inclusion, and Growth.  This competitive program is designed to increase representation of historically underrepresented faculty on campus. In addition to the general PRODiG program, our Provost spearheaded a new SUNY PRODiG Fellowship Consortia which aims to open up a new faculty diversity ‘pipeline.’ 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. As President, I am committed to ensuring wide community input into the search process. I recognize that many of you may be angry or disappointed right now, but I commit to you that every campus decision that I make has the best short- and long-term interest of the College at heart. While I am deeply committed to transparency, I am also legally restrained from commenting on personnel matters. However, I can say that we take any personnel action against any employee extremely seriously. This deliberately long process serves to ensure that our entire campus community has high-performing leadership committed to providing our students with the best quality education.  I do want to provide the campus community with an opportunity to come together and discuss its concerns. To that end, I have scheduled a town hall meeting for this coming Monday, January 27, from 7-8 pm in the Seymour Union Ballroom.”

-Brockport President Heidi Macpherson

A town hall is planned for Monday in Brockport. Stay with News 8 as this situation develops.

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