I was a guest today for two interviews on WRVA radio with John Reid and Jeff Katz. We discussed the lawsuit I have filed against Virginia Commonwealth University for not following its own policy and procedures and for violating my protections as an employee and a citizen.
Over the course of several months, university officials failed to respond to harassment and threats I received from another VCU employee and even sought to prevent that employee from being terminated, despite violations of the university’s Code of Conduct.
This threatening language and unprofessional behavior prompted a temporary protective court order to be issued against the employee, but university leadership continued to take no action. I personally spoke at a recent Board of Visitors meeting which elicited no follow-up. Even a letter from Virginia Attorney General Jason Miyares to VCU leadership could not prompt an appropriate response.
During the entire series of events, no one from VCU contacted me to learn more about the situation and to my knowledge, no official investigation has taken place. The dean of our school, a black woman, was denied the ability to terminate the employee by VCU officials, which was in her purview of authority.
Based on multiple, prior experiences, I see this as nothing less than a discriminatory response from a university that has a long history of violations of the rights of its employees — especially those of color. With no other reprieve, I am prepared to demonstrate this track record of racial discrimination in a court of law.
If I, a named Distinguished Faculty member, former governor, mayor, and longstanding state and local community leader am being treated this way, one can only imagine how the complaints of many others are left mishandled and unaddressed.
Where is the accountability that the people demand of a public institution, one which they are funding as taxpayers? This is not a matter I am pursuing lightly and I am gravely concerned for the future of VCU. We deserve to preserve the safety and rights of all those who are a part of the university. These protections were envisioned at its founding and must be demanded of by those so entrusted to provide leadership.
I encourage you to listen to the interviews here to learn more about the situation: