U. of Ark. Spokesman Files EEOC Complaint Over Termination - Higher Education

Higher Education News and Jobs

U. of Ark. Spokesman Files EEOC Complaint Over Termination

Email




by Associated Press

LITTLE ROCK, Ark.—Former University of Arkansas spokesman John Diamond has filed a complaint to the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, claiming that his firing violated his civil rights and asking that he be reinstated.

Diamond, who was fired Aug. 23, said his religion might have been a factor in his termination, the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette reported Saturday.

Diamond, who is Catholic, filed the complaint Nov. 14.

After Diamond was terminated, he sent a letter Aug. 26 to Advancement Division Vice Chancellor Chris Wyrick, expressing some of his complaints directly to his former boss.

“On the day of our first one-on-one meeting following your official start as vice chancellor, you exited your personal office with two other university employees and, when seeing me, pointed out to those present that I am Catholic and that ‘y’all travel in packs,'” Diamond wrote.

In subsequent interviews, Wyrick said he didn’t mean the Catholic remark to be offensive. He said he remembers asking “Is there a fish fry this weekend?” but he denies saying that members of Diamond’s faith “traveled in packs.”

“Ideally, the outcome of the EEOC filing will be my reinstatement as associate vice chancellor for university relations,” Diamond said in an email to the newspaper.

“Whether I get reinstated or not, I hope the board of trustees will do whatever’s necessary to fix the hostile environment that exists in Advancement and within other parts of campus,” he wrote.

The division has been the subject of several investigations since racking up a cumulative deficit of $4.2 million as of June 30, 2012. UA officials have said the cumulative deficit was reduced to $3.2 million as of June 30, but the division continues to struggle with annual operating deficits and has been shored up with millions of dollars from university reserves.

Related:  Report: University of Texas President OK’d Applicants Over Objections

UA officials have said Diamond was fired for insubordination during an Aug. 22 meeting with Wyrick, who replaced the former Advancement Division vice chancellor, Brad Choate, after he was dismissed in connection with the deficit.

“You became irate and confrontational,” Wyrick wrote in an Aug. 23 email to Diamond. “You made statements that my leadership style is ‘laughable.’ . In sum, I believe that your conduct in our meeting constituted insubordination.”

Diamond’s termination had nothing to do with his religion, said Mark Rushing, a UA spokesman.

“Mr. Diamond’s civil rights claims were investigated by the Affirmative Action/Civil Rights Compliance Officer for the University of Arkansas Division Of Agriculture, who determined that the allegations were unfounded,” Rushing wrote in an email.

Diamond said the federal investigation could take some time.

“This is a long process, unfortunately,” he said. “The EEOC office is expected to assign an investigator to my case sometime soon.”

RELATED ARTICLES >>
UMass Chief Marty Meehan Giving $4M Campaign Fund to Education Foundation BOSTON ― Former U.S. Rep. Marty Meehan is closing his congressional campaign committee and donating its remaining $4 million to an educational foundation. Meehan, who is now president of the University of Massachusetts system, started the committe...
$500 Tuition Could Apply to Elizabeth City State Students RALEIGH, N.C. - North Carolina lawmakers have re-included one historically black university in an experimental program to cut tuition to just $500 a semester for in-state students at some University of North Carolina campuses. House and Senate leade...
U of Missouri Dismissive of Grad Student Unionization Effort COLUMBIA, Mo. ― The University of Missouri asserts in a court filing that graduate students have no rights to collective bargaining. And if they do have that right, they are doing it wrong, attorney Michael Kaemmerer wrote in a brief filed last week...
Chancellor Jimmy Cheek Resigning at University of Tennessee in Knoxville KNOXVILLE, Tenn. ― Jimmy Cheek, the chancellor of the University of Tennessee in Knoxville, is resigning to rejoin the faculty. In a Tuesday announcement, the university praised Cheek for increased diversity at the school, record fundraising and $...
Semantic Tags:

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *