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Discrimination charge filed by employee

by Kari Ashworth - Executive Editor
Tue, Feb 18th 2020 01:00 pm

On Oct. 20, 2019, Executive Assistant to the Vice President Victoria Elsenheimer filed a charge of discrimination with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission against The College at Brockport. In the complaint, Elsenheimer alleged she had been discriminated against based on her race and as a form of retaliation between Nov. 15, 2018, and May 29, 2019. 

Elsenheimer was hired in her current role at the college on or about Sept. 3, 2003, according to the complaint. 

“I am currently serving under the fourth VP since my hire and remain employed in this capacity to date,” the complaint read. “On or about May 29, 2019, I found out that three out of the four administrative assistants to the vice president’s titles had been changed to executive assistant to the vice president; I was the only administrative assistant whose title did not change.”

Elsenheimer wrote in the complaint she was the only African American woman who reports to a member of the President’s cabinet. Elsenheimer then emailed the Human Resources director about the lack of title change. She subsequently received an email regarding her position, stating her title would be changed to executive assistant, according to the complaint.

“Based on the behaviors of individual and institutional racism, I believe I have been discriminated against because of my race, African American, in violation of the Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, as amended,” the complaint reads. “The process implemented and the decisions made by all white cabinet members regarding the title changes of the administrative assistants to the vice presidents on or about Nov. 15, 2018, benefitted all white personnel only. I also believe my complaint has created a hostile work environment resulting in possible retaliation.”

In an amendment to the complaint, signed on Feb. 3, Elsenheimer said she has not been given a response from the college, despite a copy of the complaint being provided to the college. 

“I submit this amendment to my charge to add additional information and examples of institutional racial discrimination and racism by the college, some of its cabinet members and the President of the college, Dr. Heidi Macpherson, whose attitudes and actions regarding race are reflected in th racial discrimination that has occurred against me and other African American employees,” the amendment read. 

Elsenheimer also amended her charge to include Macpherson and Vice President for Advancement Mike Andriatch, “to add them as the decision makers who knowingly gave the title (Executive Assistant to the Vice President) to three white females and refused to give me, the only African American working on the floor, the same title.” Elsenheimer also said she had more seniority than her white counterparts. 

The amendment was filed 10 days after Chief Diversity Officer Cephas Archie’s separation from the college and included alleged details regarding former Archie’s office conditions at the college while Allen Administration Building was renovated between August 2018 and August 2019. Elsenheimer alleged Archie was placed in Morgan Hall during this time, which was “a dirty, roach-infested building that lacked proper heating and lighting and had been designed for demolition.”

The Stylus will continue to report on this story if and when new information develops.

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