Dr. Stanley O. Gaines, Jr., Archive:
REBUTTAL TO 7/18/2000 PRESS RELEASE BY POMONA COLLEGE CONCERNING GAINES' BATTLE FOR TENURE
To: Interested Parties
From: Dr. Stanley O. Gaines, Jr.
Re: Rebuttal to Revised Pomona Press Release
Pomona College has a habit of failing to send me copies of press releases. I learned about the first press release when the Inland Valley Our Times and the Claremont Courier told me about the press release. Now, thanks to the Inland Valley News, I have a copy of the full text of a second press release from Pomona College regarding my case. In the present paper (written on July 31, 2000), I shall respond to the College's press release. Most of the "new" press release is identical to the College's previous press release. Therefore, I will focus on those sentences from the current press release that did not appear in the College's original press release.
According to the College, "Mr. Gaines' charges of discrimination are baseless." This statement is false. The College does not cite one word of civil rights law or Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) policy to support such a claim. A quick check of the EEOC Web site (www.eeoc.gov) will reveal that as a prerequisite to pursuing mediation, the EEOC must determine that "reasonable cause" exists to conclude that discrimination has occurred. My first two charges of discrimination, as well as my first charge of retaliation, already have led to efforts by the EEOC to initiate mediation. Thus, my charges are anything but "baseless."
Next the College claims, "After the College's tenure decision in December 1998, Mr. Gaines had 18 months to file an internal grievance. His charges of discrimination would then have been reviewed by an independent faculty panel with the power to recommend a new review for tenure. He did not take that opportunity. His allegations were investigated by the EEOC, with the cooperation of the College, and the College expects the EEOC to dismiss the charges in the very near future." This paragraph contains so many false and misleading claims that I will have to "unpack" the paragraph, line by line.
First, here is the chronology of events in December 1998: (1) By December 1, the Cabinet (i.e., all full professors who have held that rank for a minimum of one year) had voted to deny me tenure. According to the 1998-99 Faculty Handbook, that negative vote marked the end of my tenure review. (2) On December 7, at least one week after the Cabinet voted to deny me tenure, the Faculty Grievance Committee wrote a one-page "report" to President Peter Stanley, concluding that "no violation" of my rights had occurred regarding procedural violations. (3) On December 8, 1998, President Peter Stanley wrote a one-page letter to the Faculty Grievance Committee, in which he accepted the Faculty Grievance Committee's findings. Please note that President Stanley accepted a "report" prepared by a committee that engaged in multiple procedural violations of its own (i.e., no hearings were held, meaning that the Faculty Grievance Committee did not even interview me, let alone any witnesses; before that, no faculty mediators were appointed to try and resolve my Fall 1998 grievance concerning procedural violations; and before that, neither of the committee members whom I had asked to remove or recuse themselves from the committee had done so). (4) On December 9, the Board of Trustees voted to deny me tenure, even though the 1998-99 Faculty Handbook made it clear that the Cabinet already had ended my candidacy for tenure. The chronology is important, because it shows that by the time the Faculty Grievance Committee voted against me, my candidacy for tenure was over.
In Spring 1999, I appealed to the Executive Committee to reopen my grievance regarding procedural violations. The Executive Committee refused to do so. Later that semester, I appealed to President Peter Stanley to renominate me for tenure. President Stanley refused to do so. Both of those appeals occurred during the 18 months that the College mentions in its press release.
So far, I have described the sequence of events regarding the charge of procedural violations, which the 1998-99 Faculty Handbook had allowed me to file internally. Please note that according to the 1998-99 Faculty Handbook, since my case involved denial of tenure, I was not allowed to file an internal grievance regarding discrimination. Also, the 1998-99 Faculty Handbook made it clear that, in accordance with EEOC policy, I had the right to file an external complaint instead of an internal complaint regarding discrimination. Fortunately, the EEOC allowed me to exercise that right. By December 1998, I already had filed one charge of discrimination with the EEOC. During the 18 months that the College mentions, I went on to file three additional charges of discrimination, and three charges of retaliation, with the EEOC. Again, the 1998-99 Faculty Handbook (and, for that matter, the 1999-2000 Faculty Handbook) excluded discrimination from the list of "grievable issues" that I could pursue internally. I took every available opportunity to appeal in the area where I could appeal under the 1998-99 Faculty Handbook (i.e., concerning procedural violations). The College rejected each appeal.
The College's claim regarding its "cooperation" with the EEOC also is false. As it turns out, the College's legal counsel first called the lead investigator and tried to force her to drop all of my charges immediately, even though the College was withholding personnel files from the EEOC at the time. The lead investigator refused to drop the charges and told the College's legal counsel to contact her supervisor. Next, the College's legal counsel called the supervisor and tried to force her to drop all of my charges immediately. The supervisor refused to drop the charges and told the College's legal counsel to contact the EEOC's regional attorney. (I do not know whether the College's legal counsel made that particular call.) The College's behavior represented harassment and intimidation, rather than "cooperation."
This was not the first time that the College had tried to end the EEOC investigation via harassment or intimidation. On December 18, 1998, the College's legal counsel wrote me, trying to coerce me into dropping what at that time was a single discrimination complaint. On December 23, 1998, I wrote a response, pointing out that he had never asked me whether I was represented by legal counsel. The behavior of the College's legal counsel toward me was "imprudent" at best (according to the California state code of professional conduct) and "unethical" at worst (according to the Los Angeles city code of professional conduct). Again, the College's behavior has not even approached "cooperation."
To make matters worse, the College has prevented the EEOC from conducting an "on-campus" investigation. The EEOC initially told me that it would come onto campus, interview witnesses, and inspect personnel files in "May or June" of 1999. May and June 1999 came and went; I heard nothing from the EEOC. Next, the EEOC told me that it would come onto campus on a specific date (September 23, 1999). Again, the appointed date came and went, without any visit by the EEOC. Next, the EEOC told me that it would come to campus in "the last week of April 2000." Once again, the last week of April 2000 came and went, without a visit by the EEOC. I found out that the College had been sending prepared statements (by whom, I do not know) to the EEOC in an effort to prevent the EEOC from coming onto campus. One wonders what information the College is so intent on keeping the EEOC from obtaining.
Likewise, the College's claim that it expects the EEOC to drop all charges "in the very near future" has absolutely no basis in fact. As I noted above, the EEOC already has found "reasonable cause" to conclude that the College engaged in discriminatory behavior toward me. Furthermore, as of this writing (7/31/2000), the EEOC still has not interviewed a key witness whom I named in an affidavit concerning my second charge of discrimination and my first charge of retaliation. Moreover, pursuant to the Freedom of Information Act, I have asked the EEOC to arrange a time and date for me to come in and inspect, copy, and correct the negative letter from the Faculty Personnel Committee that was one of only two pieces of evidence (the other document was my curriculum vita, or CV, otherwise known as a resume) that the Cabinet received prior to voting to deny me tenure.
I hasten to add that I asked the EEOC to grant me access to the negative Faculty Personnel Committee, only after the College refused a similar request that I had made as early as Fall 1998, and as recently as last week, pursuant to the Privacy Act. In that instance, the College was silent regarding its status as a federal contractor. As a federal contractor, the College is required by federal law to comply my request. I find it odd that the College would promote the false belief that it had given me some sort of "opportunity" to file a (new) grievance, when it withheld (and continues to withhold) the only written evidence produced during my Fall 1998 tenure review that I had not already submitted to the Faculty Grievance Committee.
Finally, the College claims, "Pomona College has an exemplary record of recruitment, retention, and promotion of ethnic minorities on the faculty. At the time Mr. Gaines was reviewed for tenure in 1998, 21% of the College's permanent faculty members were ethnic minorities. From 1992 through the 1998 tenure review period, 38% of the faculty members who were granted lifetime tenure at the College were ethnic minorities. Currently, the Pomona College Psychology Department consists of ten full-time professors, three of whom are minorities." One major problem with this entire paragraph is that, despite what the College would have one believe, the EEOC is not investigating the College's behavior toward ethnic minorities in general. Rather, the EEOC is investigating the College's behavior toward African Americans in particular. It is no accident that the College avoids citing its percentages of African American faculty, which are embarrassingly low.
Let us consider the 1999-2000 College Catalog, which lists the ranks of all faculty members. At the rank of Assistant Professor (in general, untenured faculty who were hired in tenure-track positions), you will find 50 faculty, 3 of whom are African American (6%). At the rank of Associate Professor (in general, faculty who have received tenure during the past 8 years), you will find 59 faculty, 3 of whom are African American (5%). Finally, at the rank of Professor (in general, faculty who received tenure more than 8 years ago), you will find 76 faculty, 1 of whom is African American (1%). As the academic rank goes up, the percentage of African American faculty at Pomona College goes down.
The College's tenure policy was changed from 1995-96 to 1996-97, remained the same through 1999-2000, and was changed again as of the 2000-2001 term. If we focus on the four years (1996-97 through 1999-2000) that the tenure policy under which I was reviewed was in effect, we find that 100% of the White, Latino, and Asian/Asian American tenure-track candidates received tenure; whereas 0% of the Black tenure-track candidates (that would be me) received tenure. Unfortunately for the College, the EEOC and the Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs (OFCCP) apply an "80% rule" to determine whether the statistics on their face suggest discriminatory behavior toward members of a particular ethnic group. In order to satisfy the "80% rule" (and, thus, avoid further inquiry by the EEOC), the College would have to show that at least 80% of the African American tenure-track candidates received tenure during the four years in question. Obviously, the College does not meet that standard.
Please note that the successful Anglo, Latino, and Asian/Asian American tenure-track candidates from 1996-97 through 1999-2000 include several faculty members who were hired at the rank of Assistant Professor at least one year after I was hired at that rank. Those faculty members were promoted ahead of me (to the rank of Associate Professor) and were granted tenure. One additional factoid: The Psychology Department has never granted tenure to an African American tenure-track faculty member. If Assistant Professor Nicole Weekes receives tenure several years from now, then she will be the first African American tenure-track faculty member to receive tenure. As of the 2000-2001 term, she is the only African American in the department (by herself, she represents 10% of the department).
In closing, Pomona College has spent a great deal of time and effort trying to cover up its procedural violations and acts of discrimination in my case. If the College had spent a fraction of that time and effort complying with federal civil rights law, then the EEOC would not have been involved in its current investigation for nearly two years. The fact that the College continues to withhold evidence that they have no legal right to withhold from me, even as Claremont and the nation are watching, illustrates the contradiction and deception inherent in the College's position on my case.