Structural Racism in Higher Ed Hiring: The Case of CCP

Why can’t I get a full time job after working 30 years as an adjunct professor and advisor? This is the question of Linda D. Evans, PhD, who has taught and advised at the Community College of Philadelphia for three decades. She carries around overstuffed manila folders with the statement of employment discrimination that she filed with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission and a Pennsylvania Humans Relations Commission questionnaire. There is a copy of the adjunct seniority list where her name appears. She also has a copy of a letter she sent to Philadelphia Mayor James Kenney pleading for help, among other documents.

“The last time I applied for a full time advisor position was in March 2016,” says Evans, pulling out the job description posted on CCP’s human resources site. There are check marks next to each and every qualification. She also has positive evaluations attached to it.

“This is the fifth time applying for a full time position,” Evans says. “I have an undergraduate degree in communications from Temple University. I have two master’s degrees, including one in academic counseling and a MBA from the University of Wisconsin in Madison. I got my doctoral degree from Temple in adult education with an emphasis on counseling and advising. I applied for this position as an advisor.

“So, someone gets hired who has less experience than me and really no advising experience or education. I am clearly more qualified for a full time position both in my degrees and experience, and that is why this process has been frustrating. It is not fair,” Evans says.

Evans, who is African American, says that part of her exasperation is because the CCP’s website says they are moving towards diversity of their faculty. In 2014 CCP finally hired an African American president, Donald “Guy” Generals. The CCP board boasts of having seven African Americans on its 17-member foundation board, including two African American women. There are several African American administrators. Yet the racial dynamics of the faculty, particularly the full timers, remains predominantly white.

According to CCP accreditation records in 2015 the faculty was 75 percent white female. Of this 16.1 percent were African American. Conversely, the student population was 58.2 percent African American, 22.9 percent white, and the rest of the students were of color—Native, Latino or Asian Americans. “This is in a minority majority city like Philadelphia where only 16 percent is African American and most are part time. I have been hoping to be full time for 30 years,” says Evans pointing to the accreditation report.

Yet some may say that Evans’ story is an isolated instance—that structural racism does not exist at CCP or any other higher education institution when it comes to hiring African American faculty. There are many others who came forth one by one once the CCP situation became more public.

Recently it was spurred on by Rel Dowdell, who has spent 13 years as a CCP adjunct teaching developmental English and a noted filmmaker. He would take any notions of sour grapes or isolated instances to task.

Dowdell has been the “poster employee” for advertisements to draw in new students. It is little wonder. Dowdell is known to many potential students for his producing independent films like “Train Ride” distributed by Sony Pictures and earned the American Theatre of Harlem Festival Award. More recently, he produced “Changing the Game” about a Philadelphian who confronts Wall Street corruption. This flick was screened at the Cannes Film Festival in 2013.

He has an undergraduate degree in English from Fisk University and earned his master’s in filmmaking and screenwriting from Boston University. He is a graduate of Central High School, one of the city’s prestigious academic magnet public high schools. Like Evans, he is a native Philadelphian from the historic Germantown section in Northwest Philadelphia.

Dowdell has applied for and was interviewed by a search committee for full time positions twice over 13 years. He, too, sees less qualified and experienced white and/or female candidates get the job. What he does notice is that the majority of the new hires are either white and/or female.

He gained recent attention after hiring an attorney, Chris DelGaizo of Kramer, Manes & Associates to represent him in an EEOC discrimination case against the Community College of Philadelphia this year. His story appeared in a Sunday edition of the Philadelphia Inquirer, December 30, 2015 in the city’s only daily newspaper.1 The case has not been settled yet. The next hearing will be in late October 2016.

“In 2015, Rel Dowdell, an award winning and nationally recognized screenwriter, was denied a full time English professor (position) at the Community College of Philadelphia because he is Black/African American,” DelGaizo says. “Mr. Dowdell has been approved by the human resources department, a hiring committee, and the English department in both 2005 and 2015. During the same time span, the suit alleges that one African American male was hired by CCP a full time English professor. CCP’s student body is more than half African American. The English faculty at CCP is 2 percent African American male.”

In Dowdell’s complaint it was noted that only three of the 50 full time faculty hired in the English department from 2000 to 2015 were African American males. The suit also contends that no African American males were among the 2015 new hires.  CCP confirmed that in 2015 they did not hire any African American males, but said half of the six candidates hired were people of color.

DelGaizo singled out two persons who were responsible for the hiring decisions in both 2005 and 2015. “Dr. Judith Gay, an African American woman, and Dr. Sharon Thompson, a Caucasian woman. These individuals no longer have hiring responsibilities at CCP,” DelGaizo says.

One of the few African American male professors hired in the English department was Pierre Vincent, who worked at CCP from 1999 to 2006. He also remembers going through a smooth initial process through human resources only to have things go awry at the search committee level. “I was placed at the bottom of the list by Sharon Thompson and Judy Gay,” Vincent says.

Three Documents Staffers Assert Show Discrimination

Many who work or have worked at CCP produced three documents to prove that there is structural racism in higher education using this public institution as an example. These include a 2001 memorandum from a prospective employee, who was white, who opted not to accept a position at CCP after realizing there was overt racism. Then there is a 2014 human resources spreadsheet that shows who was chosen to be interviewed by the English department’s search committee, and who was hired. The final document verifies that at least one employee settled out of court, after filing complaints with the EEOC and PHRC in 2015, and related documents prove there were others within the past two years.

First, there is a 2001 memorandum that inadvertently showed up in all faculty email boxes. Some printed it and then filed it away. Others initially thought it was a hoax, but when they tried to retrieve it to print it found it was gone. Few even mentioned it to each other until they read about Dowdell in the news, or heard Evans on the radio waves.

Most of the African American male professors who taught at CCP in 2001 remember getting the email.  Among them is Vincent, who is the only one who would speak about it on the record. Vincent, a former trial attorney who served as both an adjunct and full time faculty member in CCP’s English department, is now a full time faculty member at the Middle Tennessee State University.

The email was from a white male candidate for a full time teaching position who decided not to accept a position on CCP. The candidate is currently on sabbatical from an out-of-state institution. In the subject line was “grievance,” and it was dated June 16, 2001 addressed to two CCP administrators in regard to his interview.

In it he pointed to the interview he had with a member of hiring committee. After the interview this now tenured professor elsewhere felt that he should alert the administration of the remarks made by the professor.

“Although I cannot recall all of his comments, a good percentage of them were disparaging of the students, especially the African American students. Twice, he mimicked a black vernacular pronunciation to describe how students demanded a great deal from the teacher…I felt the mimicry was racist in effect,” he wrote.

“I remember the document,” Vincent says. “I would see other (African Americans) get interviewed and go through the search process and not get a job. I would see White persons with lesser qualifications get the job. So, I knew what was said in the letter was true. After I left CCP I regretted not doing anything else or saying anything about what I had witnessed.”

Yet Vincent is quick to point out that this is not just an isolated problem at CCP. “This is a real problem in academia. There are really few of us in higher education, and very few full time tenure track professors. The low numbers are because of the patterns you see at places like CCP,” Vincent says.

Structural racism is a valid observation according to Howard University professor Leslie T. Fenwick, Howard University School of Education’s dean emerita, and H. Patrick Swygert, the president emeritus of Howard as well as SUNY at Albany. In an article “Where Are All the Black College Faculty” in the Diverse Issues in Higher Education on November 11, 2015 they reported that most African American full time faculty can be found at historically Black colleges and universities (HBCUs). Few are at traditionally White institutions (TWIs).2

“Most earned their doctoral or other terminal degrees at traditionally white institutions, but despite their credentials, they are not vigorously recruited or advanced into the ranks of tenured faculty in the large numbers at TWIs,” they said. “Remarkably, 96 percent of Black tenured faculty are at HBCUs, even though HBCUs comprise only 3 percent of the nation’s 3,000 colleges and universities. If HBCUs disappeared, so would the nation’s Black academics.”

Vincent concurs that it is difficult for African Americans to get full-time faculty positions and then to retain them. This he learned from personal experience. In addition to his J.D. in international law from Syracuse University, Vincent has degrees in English and French. After working as a law clerk in New Jersey, he moved to working as a trial lawyer for the City of Philadelphia. Frustrated with the cronyism in city government, he started teaching part time at CCP and soon realized education was his calling. He was one of the few African American males to actually be hired full time.

Vincent attributes his departure from CCP due to the similar structural racism and the cronyism he saw while working for the city government. He says that he was among the few African American males to actually secure a full time teaching job to the fact that he came with unquestionable credentials, including a law degree.

He adds that because he is a conscious African American male his academic freedom in the classroom was often challenged. As a professor, he often went out of his way to insure that his students, most of whom were African Americans, succeeded. Yet during his last year at CCP he was actually under suspension, something he challenged and ultimately had removed from his record.

“They were challenging how I graded students,” Vincent recalls. “The college had no official policy directing teachers how to grade (at that time). They felt that I should not have given a student a C. When they found they could not suspend me for what I had done they lifted the suspension and my job was offered to me for the following year, but I did not take it.

“So often when you excel at teaching students, your excellence is not rewarded. Even the most excellent among us have to put up barriers, problems and issues that other people do not have to deal with even in their mediocrity as they perform their jobs,” Vincent says.

One African American female professor, who would only be interviewed under the condition of anonymity, also remembers getting the memo in her email box in 2001 and printed it out immediately. She said that she felt it was legitimate immediately because of the comments she heard during staff meetings. The professor who conducted the interview, who retired in 2015, was known for saying disparaging remarks about the students, she says.

Second, there are the August 4, 2015 English Generalist Faculty, Full Time, Applicant List columned document from the human resources department that shows who applied for the full time positions at CCP. Those who met all the required qualifications received “yes” in the appropriate column. If they did not a “no” was noted.

The columns included the applicant’s name, whether they were under search committee review, whether they were selected for an interview, whether they met the minimum qualifications, whether selected for a search committee interview and interview with the dean/vice president, and whether they were hired.

One professor who served on previous search committees said that candidates who did not meet the minimum qualifications could not be selected by the search committee. Yet according to the list of the seven who were hired the list included a white male who was not selected by the search committee and had no experience at CCP, another white adjunct who had just a year of teaching experience at CCP (less than the required experience), two white LGTBQ candidates were selected who appear to meet the minimum qualifications, and an African American woman who was a former CCP adjunct was interviewed despite the fact that there was a notation “may not meet minimum qualifications.”

Another full-time African American professor said that many of the search committee interviews did not have a member of the President’s Office of Diversity and Equity seated at the table. She says that one should be at every interview, regardless of the demographics of the candidate. They are there to ensure that no EEOC laws are being violated. Neither Evans nor Dowdell had equity representatives at any of their interviews.

Though several were qualified, there were few African Americans even interviewed in the past couple of years, according to the documents. Dowdell was actually the exception. Dowdell was on the list of interviewees by the search committee as noted in a February 16, 2016 memorandum to Thompson from Girija Nagaswami, the chair of the English department. Of the 11 original candidates for the English Generalists, one withdrew, and half of those interviewed were internal candidates. Dowdell says that he had the distinction of being the most senior adjunct of those interviewees with 12 years of experience as of last year. Like Evans, he had strong evaluations.

“I actually thought I had the job after I met with the search committee this last time,” Dowdell said. “I was shocked, upset and disappointed that I was not given a full time position.”

Lastly, there are documents that show that CCP paid a $10,000 settlement for a discrimination suit recently. This was the case of Stephanie Booker, who was African American, but not a faculty member.  The case of Stephanie Booker v. CCP was held in 2005. The Pennsylvania Human Relations Commission acknowledges that it closed the case after CCP reaching a settlement with Booker, according to a letter to Simon Brown at CCP dated March 30, 2015. Booker had simultaneously filed a complaint with the EEOC. This agency also sent CCP a letter of settlement in this case dated March 30, 2015.

Both Brown and attorney Jill Garfinkle Weitz were notified that Booker was awarded a check for $10,000 on March 25, 2015, that a neutral letter of reference would be provided showing her date of hire and last day of employment, and her position title on her last day of employment. The settlement agreement was signed by Booker, Weitz, and Eric Massenburg on behalf of the Faculty Federation of CCP, Local 2026.

Then, Annette Onema, a full time African American faculty member settled a wrongful termination suit against the English department last June 29. “Dr. Onema has been assigned classes that started Sept. 6,” Evans says.

There were several other discrimination cases brought up in the past. Kate Osuala filed a discrimination complaint based on race and national origin about hostile treatment by white supervisors and co-workers in the library back in 2000. Osuala, who is a native of Nigeria, initially lost that case, but appealed it. Evans also points to the African American female English adjunct professor who filed a hiring discrimination charge back in 1997.

Student Perspectives

Perhaps some of the most poignant arguments for having a higher percentage of faculty of color comes from the tuition paying students. Many are angry about what they perceive as hiring disparity. This is the top agenda item for CCP’s Student Government Association, because many students think this is long overdue.

Among them is Jessica Hogan, a 21-year old student, who says that racist white professors need to be weeded out. She is still disturbed by the experience she had in the classroom soon after arriving at CCP. She was horrified that one of her English professors used the n- word in class. She readily admitted that when students had to choose a research topic for a 10 to 15 page paper that she chose researching the origin of the n- word. Yet, she never expected her full time instructor to then use the disparaging term in the classroom.

“Professor (Bernard) Stehle seemed interested in my topic,” Hogan recalls. “He gave me the green light to write the paper. A few weeks later as a class we went to the computer classroom in the back of the library. It was here where he helped us write our introductions. After he came and help you, you could then leave.

“So, when he came up to me there were about seven students. I was researching products that used the n- word, like soap. When he walked over to me I was looking at this licorice called n-babies. I had not sued (sic) the (actual) word in front of him. I was just looking at the image on the computer,” Hogan says.

Yet the next thing she knew the professor was actually laughing and using the n- word out loud. He readily admitted that he used the word growing up, according to Hogan. But, he did not just end there. He went further.

“He said the word n- was not an issue when he was growing up and that people simply said it. Then he said the n- word was used in almost every product. I was appalled that he had said the word so much. I got the feeling that the other students who heard him did not want to say anything either. Instead I said nothing. After he dismissed me I walked home hoping to never hear about the subject again, but there were about six weeks of class left,” Hogan says.

That was the first time Hogan said she thought about having an African American professor.

This was a turning point for her as she started to critically view her instructors. So, when she finally shared the story it was only with an African American instructor. It went no further because she and other students were afraid of retaliation that could lead them to not getting her degree or earned grades.

The new president, Troy Bundy, said that having more professors of color is critical to student success and will increase CCP’S graduation rate. He is also concerned about the way students are treated in the classroom, including addressing stereotypes, belittling students with weak educational backgrounds, or speaking condescendingly to those seated in their classrooms.

“I think the diversity of the city should be reflected through the campus,” Bundy says. “Attending the West facility and I advocated to have entrances handicapped accessible. That’s important for students like me to be able to get around campus.

“I also think the other departments should reflect this as well. I know of one African American woman who is full time that I came across in the religion department, Dr. Olga Dugan.

“Why I think we need more African American professors is that most of the students are Black. Some of us need to see there are educated African Americans in colleges. Also, since they are like you they will tend to help you more, tutor you, guide you. Why should only the white students be the only one to have that advantage?” Bundy says.

Bundy remembers that when he was having trouble in English 098, 101 and 102 Dowdell tutored him. It was a tutorial that involved more than the textbook. “When I came to CCP there were certain slangs I didn’t know were slang. Those of us who grew up in certain African American (sic) do not always know this. Some of the upper middle class white female professors would get an attitude with us and acted as if we were just not that smart,” he says.

Bundy also says that on his agenda is forcing higher education to recognize there is value in having African American students beyond just their tuition dollars. He says that academia often undervalues the contributions that people of color bring to the classroom. This includes teaching people of all backgrounds how to treat those unlike themselves with dignity and respect.

“I think that even if an African American professor did not come from the exact same background, as African Americans we all understand that there are struggles. African American professors had things they had to overcome even if they came from affluent homes. So, they can offer all students something that other professors lack. African American professors are not just good for African American students, but white students benefit,” Bundy says.

Antonio Lasley, currently a student at La Salle University after graduating from CCP, also felt that he would not be a political science and philosophy major with a desire to attend law school if it were not for the few African American professors he had. He met Dowdell when he went to him for tutoring.

“I can really tell the difference now that I am at La Salle,” Lasley says. “I find that here many of the white professors are helpful and care about the students. I find more are from the city. It’s a different story than when I entered CCP because now I have mastered a lot of the (fundamentals) and I am no longer struggling. Most, but not all, of the CCP professors do not relate well with the struggling students.

“That’s why I think all students can benefit from having minority professors. Many times they come from the inner city and they have experienced discrimination. They know how to steer you in a certain direction,” Lasley says.

Lasley said it was professors like Dowdell who (sic) him the confidence he needed to even dream bigger. He is planning on taking his LSAT this December. “When you are entering at the community college level it is really important that the professor is able to relate to (the deficiencies) in your educational background and experiences. They already know something about why you may be returning to school and what you need help with,” Lasley says.

Angela Bell, who is a CCP graduate in the Class of 2016, studied behavioral health services. When she arrived at CCP it had been 30 years since she was in school. She worked as a teacher’s aide and a bus attendant for the Philadelphia School District for 25 years. She is the mother of three grown children.

“I almost thought of dropping out of CCP, but it was the African American professors who changed my mind,” Bell says. “I kind of felt that the young white female professors looked at me like any old African American single mother from the inner city. When I said I did not remember what verbs and adjectives were one white professor laughed at me. It was the African American ones, even if they were not from my background, who took the extra step to help or at least didn’t make me feel that I didn’t count.”

Cassandra Ross concurs. She was a CCP student for three years. She is majoring in behavioral health. During the time that she has been at CCP she had only one African American professor, Evans. She credits the ability to return to Evans and her African American tutors with questions and concerns even after the semester with her was over played a pivotal role in her remaining at CCP and then transferring to a four-year college.

“The Black professors treat you as a person no matter what your social economic class,” Ross says. “The white professors would brag how they went to Yale and Harvard and lived on the Main Line. They would look down on you or else they would feel sorry for you. Most of them of the ones I had were very elitist.

“I had one white professor in sociology who didn’t know anything about living in Philadelphia because he was from a rural area outside of Pittsburgh. He said he have never even been around Black people until he came to CCP. He said this was his first time teaching or talking to Black people. I had another from the South, but had only lived around redneck whites from the south. So, they could not understand why African Americans were afraid to be stopped by the police, or why some things in their curriculum were antiquated or inaccurate about us,” Ross says.

Like Lasley, she found that having different types of white professors at Pierce College was helpful. She said that even though they were not African American, many had grown up in Philadelphia or other cities, came from working class or lower middle class backgrounds, many were older, mature and experienced teachers, and most did not carry the socioeconomic baggage of many of the CCP faculty.

“At CCP most of the students are coming from West Philly, South Philly and North Philly,” Ross says. “The Caucasian students are generally coming from the Northeast and place like that. I do not understand why they have all these royal white people teaching us. They don’t even have regular white people or even redneck white people from the city teaching us here.

“So, for someone like me, not only are they of a different race but they are also of a different sociological background completely. I had professors who made it clear they are just there to get a paycheck and would not answer questions outside the classroom.

“With a more diverse group of professors it will help make all the professors better because they will have to interact with the African American professors. They can learn how to teach us better and understand that we just want to get a good education, get one job with regular hours, get some benefits and maybe even retire. The African American faculty understand that,” Ross says.

Addressing Structural Racism

Anna Egalite, an assistant professor in the department of educational leadership, policy and human development at North Carolina State University, and Brian Kisida, an assistant research professor at the University of Missouri’s department of economics and the Truman School of Public Affairs are studying how a diverse teacher workforce affects students. In their research they found that moving from a majority white workforce is beneficial to students, particularly those of color.

Some of their findings appear in the article, “The Many Ways Teacher Diversity may Benefit Students” that appeared on the Brown Center Chalkboard on Brookings.edu on August 19. They presented three theories on how this can be achieved: role modeling, teacher’s expectations, cultural understanding.

”It’s important to acknowledge, of course, that possessing similar demographic characteristics doesn’t always translate to a shared cultural heritage,” Egalite and Kisida said. “Nonetheless, large-scale diversification of the teacher workforce would greatly increase the potential for a common cultural understanding between minority students and their teachers to occur, relative to the odds of such an occurrence today.

“The results of this new research demonstrate that the potential benefits of increased teacher diversity extend well beyond standardized test scores, raising important questions about lost opportunities cause by the underrepresentation of minority teachers in America today,” they said.3

In another Brown Center report on educational policy released last August co-authors Hannah Putman, Michael Hansen, Kate Walsh, and Diana Quintero from the National Council of Teacher Quality described what it will take for the faculty workforce to reflect the student body.

“Achieving a diverse teacher workforce must be a long-term policy goal with a suite of long-term strategies put in place to help minorities succeed in college and to encourage them to return to the classroom to help the next generation of students,” the researchers said. “Our failure to do so will keep us stubbornly in the same vicious cycle in which low teacher diversity contributes in a myriad of ways to low minority student success in K-12 and college, which results once again in low teacher diversity,” the scholars wrote.4

“Based on our analysis, attempts to close diversity gaps through hiring alone will barely nudge the diversity gap today and into the decades to come; truly addressing the yawning gaps will require a much broader long-term strategy,” they said.5

Yet despite its minority fellows program and hiring outreach, CCP has not made significant progress in diversifying departments like English and Mathematics, where the bulk of the faculty at the institution teaches. Back in 2014 Generals said that the institution had a difficult time finding qualified African Americans, who had a graduate degree in English and a strong teaching track record.

“It’s not just about ethnicity,” Lynette Brown-Sow, the CCP’s vice president for marketing and governmental relations told the Philadelphia Inquirer in the article “CCP faces Discrimination Complaints” published on August 16. Brown-Sow is African American. “I think it’s about quality and people who are culturally competent and so if you can relate to students, it doesn’t make a difference on race. It makes a difference whether you can help a student achieve and succeed,” Brown-Sow said.6

Fenwick and Swygert contend that there is no shortage of African American academics to choose from. They said it is a myth that African Americans with doctoral degrees do not exist. At CCP a master’s degree is the minimum requirement to become a full time tenured professor. Earlier they had a minority teaching fellowship program, but most of those who went through the initiative wound up being hired elsewhere, including at HBCUs.

“A 2012 National Center for Education Statistic report indicates an almost 43 percent increase in the award of PhDs to Blacks from about 7,000 in 1999-2000 to an almost 43 percent increase in the award of PhDs to Black to slightly more than 10,000 in 2009-2010. Yet the annual increase in Black faculty appointments at TWIs during the same period was about 1.3 percent. Sadly the percentage of Black faculty at the nation’s TWIs averages out to a dismal 4 percent today,” they said.7

CCP actually has a higher rate of African American full-time faculty than the national 4 percent. According to internal documents there are at least 5 to 6 percent. Its overall 16.1 percent faculty of color is also higher than most American higher educational institutions. Yet  the professors of color interviewed for this article are quick to point these statistics includes places with lower percentages of African Americans and people of color.

That is why Evans insists that one must also take into account the diversity of the towns, cities and states where most colleges and universities are located. The questionable nature of CCP is that it is “a school located in a minority majority city with many colleges and universities who produce qualified minority graduates,” Evans says.

Additionally, Dowdell insists the qualification issue is false in his case. He says that he was told he met the minimum requirements for the position before he actually met with the search committee last year. In court documents CCP administrators said he did not meet the qualifications because his graduate degree is in filmmaking and screenwriting, not English, though his undergraduate degree and teaching experience are in English.

Yet the advertisement for the English Generalist added that one could have at least a master’s degree in language, literature, developmental English, reading, or a closely related fields. The latter included rhetoric, composition, American Studies, humanities, classics, communications, creative writing, or other master’s degrees with a concentration in English course along with similar undergraduate degree. It also said most education degrees do not qualify unless it had an English concentration.

Dowdell says that most of those hired are younger replicas of the seasoned full-time tenured staff—upper middle to upper class White women, who graduated from a handful of the same colleges and universities. That is why there are few African American males hired, he says.

“Interestingly, there is a large body of research that clearly suggest that folks tend to hire and rehire folks who tend to act and look exactly like themselves,” said Robin Hughes, associate professor of higher education at Indiana University’s School of Education in her article “10 Signs of Institutional Racism” that appeared in Diverse Issues in Higher Education on May 29, 2014.

“How are the roots of structural and institutionalized racism formed? It’s subtle. It seems normal. It seems innocent. That is the way that institutional racism works. It is rooted in the core of one’s everyday existence, yet it is easy to detect if we just look and assess,” Hughes said.8

As for Evans, who turned 61 this year, her strategy to address structural racism has evolved. While initially she felt she would just fight for future CCP professors by engaging in a low-profile fight, that mission has expanded. Besides racial discrimination, she is also asserting that there is age discrimination. Majority of the new faculty hires were under 40, Evans contends.

So, Evans is getting a bit more secure airing the CCP dirty laundry she has kept in her tattered briefcase and disintegrating manila folders for 30 years. She is now advocating for her own future, the future CCP colleagues and applicants, and those who experience the same fate applying for full time jobs at colleges and universities across the nation.

Evans says it was time to expose this. She finally got the nerve to post her story on a blog site run by Temple University journalism professor Linn Washington last summer.  She also shared it with broadcaster, print journalist, and best-selling author Solomon Jones on his “Wake Up with WURD” morning show on Pennsylvania’s only African American-owned talk radio station located at 900 AM.

Then Evans briefly called into the Rev. Al Sharpton’s nationally syndicated radio program, “Keeping It Real” recently. Sharpton said on-the-air that he wants her to return to discuss it further soon.

Evans believes though there are many lost many battles in higher education by those who feel they were discriminated against not coming forward there is still hope. She regrets that she sat on her saga or did not take a leadership role in an organized effort. Yet she feels it’s not too late to win the war of overthrowing structural racism in higher education and achieving college level teacher diversity.

“This is not just about me, but it includes me,” Evans says. “This is about hiring discrimination being maintained as part of the system in higher education. This is a matter of what is just and fair. More importantly, this is about the quality of education that should include a diverse full time teaching and advising staff for the student body, who are 75 percent or more of color. This is a public college. It’s time the full-time teaching staff reflected the taxpayers of this city and the student body.”

  1. Snyder, Susan. “CCP teacher alleges racial, sexual discrimination”, Philadelphia Inquirer, December 28, 2015. []
  2. Fenwick, Leslie T. and H. Patrick Swygert, “Where Are All the Black College Faculty?” Diverse Issues in Higher Education, November 11, 2015.  (This article originally appeared in The Washington Post). []
  3. Egalite, Anna J. and Brian Kisida. “The Many Ways Teacher Diversity may Benefit Students” that appeared on the Brown Center Chalkboard blogs on brookings.edu on August 19, 2016. []
  4. Michael Hansen, Hannah Putnam, Diana Quintero, and Kate Walsh. “High hopes and harsh realities: The real challenge of building a diverse workforce.” Brown Center on Educational Policy at Brookings. []
  5. Michael Hansen et al. ibid. []
  6. Snyder, Susan. “CCP faces discrimination complaints”, Philadelphia Inquirer, August 16, 2016. []
  7. Fenwick, Leslie T. and H. Patrick Swygert, ibid. []
  8. Hughes, Robin. “10 Signs of Institutional Racism”, Diverse Issues in Higher Education, May 29, 2014. []
Arlene V. Edmonds published her first investigative article about higher education discrimination while a 20-year old undergraduate journalism student. Since 1987, she’s been a prolific news stringer for Digital First Media, the Philadelphia Tribune, and others. She also has been a contributing writer to numerous magazines. She is the recipient of several mid-career journalism fellowships, including one from the Fund for Investigative Journalism in 2014. Since 2008, she has also worked as an adjunct English faculty member, in Pennsylvania and Maryland, teaching writing, literature and business writing to college freshmen to seniors. Read other articles by Arlene V..