There are lingering questions over the departure of the College at Brockport’s Chief Diversity Officer, stirring community backlash after the decision.
As of now, it's unclear if Dr. Cephas Archie was fired from his position with the college.
Students chanted, “we see you, and we need the truth," during a protest Friday night on campus. Now, those students are seeking answers about the departure.
“Dr. Cephas Archie is one of the most influential black men I have ever known or ever met, and because of him I was able to graduate, and currently I am a software engineer,” said Chiadikaobi Njoku, a graduate of the College at Brockport.
East High School Superintendent and Brockport alumni Dr. Shaun Nelms tweeted, “Dr. Archie was fighting against institutional and structural bias and for that he has been dismissed."
“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,” read a statement from the college.
Dr. Cephas Archie sent Spectrum News an excerpt from his opening remarks from the Diversity Conference in October of 2019 at the College at Brockport.
The former Chief Diversity Officer tells us he emphasized the impact of documented systemic biases, racial inequities, and limited access to opportunities.
Here are his opening remarks from October:
“Yesterday I had the privilege to sit in on a training focusing on Understanding Ableism, where one of its exceptional presenters emphasized the duty to intentionally learn of others, stating “KNOW BETTER, TO DO BETTER.”
As I reflected on the profound statement, today I wish to add a single word… ”KNOW BETTER, CHOOSE TO DO BETTER”.
The Brockport Community must remain committed to CHOOSING to both BE and DOING BETTER.” We must not become complacent in efforts only to Build a Better Brockport, but push forward to creating the BEST BROCKPORT AND COMMUNITY.
With courage, hope, collaboration and commitment, we must continue to LEAD the charge and promise of inclusive excellence… FOR ALL.”
In a statement to the Brockport campus, college President Heidi Macpherson said in part she could not elaborate on personal matters at the college.
"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," the statement read.
The College at Brockport plans to have a town hall meeting Monday at 7 p.m. in the Seymour Union Ballroom.
The hope is that people come together to discuss their concerns about Dr. Archie's departure.
“Dr. Cephas Archie has helped so many students throughout his short stay at the College of Brockport, and the truth of the matter is, the college for whatever reason is not taking that into account,” said Njoku.