Posted: April 17, 2001
Contact: Doug Anderson, firstname.lastname@example.org, 651-201-1426
Minnesota State Colleges and Universities Chancellor Morris J. Anderson and St. Cloud State University President Roy Hirofumi Saigo today asked the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission to investigate whether a systemic pattern of anti-Semitism or other illegal discrimination exists at St. Cloud State University.
"Some serious allegations have been made, and we believe an independent fact-finder should look into these charges and determine whether or not they are true," Anderson said. "The EEOC is an independent outside party experienced in conducting investigations."
In the past several weeks, several current and former St. Cloud State University faculty members have publicly discussed their complaints against the university. While St. Cloud State University and the Minnesota State Colleges and Universities system cannot comment on complaints filed with the EEOC because of data practices laws, Anderson and Saigo said the alleged incidents have raised concern.
"Requesting the EEOC to investigate is an unusual step for us to take, but serious and troubling allegations have been made," Anderson said. "We need to know whether there are pervasive influences within the university that create a hostile climate for persons of color, individuals of the Jewish faith or Jewish heritage, and other protected class members so that we can work to address those influences."
In a letter to Chester Bailey, EEOC district director, Anderson and Saigo said, "It is our sincerest hope that in seeking additional review by an independent agency of the federal government, St. Cloud State University will be able to identify and address any factors that prevent the university from being experienced as a fully welcoming, nondiscriminatory environment for every member of the university community."
Anderson and Saigo pledged full cooperation with an EEOC investigation.
Anderson and Saigo also announced administrative actions to address concerns about the university's climate:
- St. Cloud State University will add a one-year position for a full-time investigator to look into complaints of discrimination in employment and educational opportunity. The investigator will report directly to President Saigo and will file monthly reports with St. Cloud State University and the Minnesota State Colleges and Universities system office on all pending matters and their status.
- During the one-year period, the university's administration will review internal mechanisms for investigating complaints of discrimination and revise them if necessary.
- The addition of an investigator should help the university more quickly resolve pending discrimination complaints.
These actions are in addition to steps already underway:
- The university has contracted with the Jewish Community Relations Council to assess the campus environment and make recommendations to address allegations of anti-Semitism.
- The university's Student Government organization has retained an evaluator to conduct an environmental scan of the campus climate on issues of bias.
- The university's Affirmative Action Office is retaining a firm to conduct a campus-wide environmental scan.
Minnesota's 31 state community and technical colleges, and universities serve more than 430,000 students across the state.