- Mr. Will CrossleyOffice for Civil Rights - U.S. Dept. of Education
- Ms. Linda SawickiCalifornia Office of Attorney General
CA Attorney General Kamala Harris: Investigate UCLA for ignoring discrimination and retaliation complaints by faculty members
For years, UCLA has discriminated against its own faculty members and failed to adequately address complaints.
In a new report released by an independent panel led by retired California Supreme Court Justice Carlos Moreno, the findings are clear: UCLA’s complaint process for addressing claims of discrimination and retaliation “has failed to adequately record, investigate, or provide for disciplinary sanctions for incidents which, if substantiated, would constitute violations of university nondiscrimination policy.
In other words, UCLA has turned a blind eye to accusations of discrimination and retaliation, thereby fostering a workplace environment where intolerance and hostility are permissible. As a state funded institution of higher learning, this is unacceptable.
Thanks to the LA Times, which obtained and released the findings, we know that UCLA faculty has described “a racial campus in near crisis.”
In light of the report’s findings that UCLA failed to properly investigate and address claims of discrimination and retaliation, this petition requests an independent investigation by California Attorney General Kamala Harris to determine if any state laws were violated or university policies relative to claims of discrimination and retaliation. This petition further requests the Office of the Attorney General to provide recommendations and guidelines to strengthen the university’s nondiscrimination policies.
Last year, Dr. Christian Head, a former surgeon at UCLA's medical school, filed a complaint describing horrible treatment he received while on staff -- including when a UCLA staff displayed a slideshow image to hundreds of his colleagues. In the image, Dr. Head’s face was superimposed onto the body of a gorilla standing on all-fours being sodomized by his Caucasian supervisor. After thousands of people signed a petition in support of Dr. Head, the university agreed to a settlement with him a few months ago. What started out as a single case of racial discrimination and retaliation against Dr. Head, has now exposed a deeply rooted problem at UCLA that requires a broader solution.
UCLA has proven that it cannot appropriately address systemic complaints of discrimination. It's time for a higher authority, the state's Attorney General, to step in and ensure accountability.Please add your voice to the resolution passed by the California NAACP to investigate and reform UCLA’s racial climate problem and institute an environment that respects all people, regardless of ethnic origin, religious background, sexual orientation and gender.
- Attorney General
- Office for Civil Rights - U.S. Dept. of Education
Mr. Will Crossley
- California Office of Attorney General
Ms. Linda Sawicki
In February 2012 a UCLA Physician, Dr. Christian Head, filed a lawsuit against the University and the UC Regents for racial discrimination and retaliation. One specific incident described in the suit alleged that at a university sponsored dinner an edited photo was displayed during a slideshow. The photo depicted a gorilla with Dr. Head’s face superimposed on it being sodomized by his Caucasian boss. Other claims included financial retaliation when he filed complaints.
The University aggressively dismissed the allegations claiming that Dr. Head had not utilized the schools complaint procedures. They further stated that his case had been investigated and no evidence was found to substantiate his claims.
This past July, the UC Regents awarded him $4.5 million. No one was ever disciplined and offending doctors continue to work at UCLA Medical Center.
One consequence of the lawsuit was that UCLA agreed to conduct a climate survey among its faculty. The 5-member panel that oversaw the survey was led by former California Supreme Court Justice Carlos Moreno. The results are scathing. Thanks to the Los Angeles Times, the public has learned the findings of the report reveal a shameful pattern of ignoring claims of discrimination and retaliation.
In short, the report found that UCLA’s review process “failed to adequately record, investigate, or provide for disciplinary sanctions for incidents which, if substantiated, would constitute violations of university nondiscrimination policy.” The report further substantiates Dr. Head’s claims and the necessity of his lawsuit. Understandably, faculty at UCLA have described a “racial campus in near crisis.”
UCLA’s failure to protect it’s faculty by upholding nondiscrimination policies is dangerous and must be independently investigated. I am signing this petition to ask that you, the Attorney General for the State of California, conduct that investigation to determine if any state laws were violated or university policies relative to claims of discrimination and retaliation. I further request that your office provide recommendations and guidelines to strengthen the university’s nondiscrimination policies and investigative procedures.
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