Taylor University ( Upland, IN) has broken the law (Civil Rights Act of 1964) in their efforts to remove the only full-time African American faculty member at Taylor University. Dr. Whipple ( my father) was told in writing by the chair of his department (Dr. Albert Harrison) that one of the factors for discussion in whether he would be able to keep his job was the fact that he has complained of racism. People should be aware that this is happening. This is unchristian as well as illegal and it must be stopped. Please help my father fight racism in this Christian institution.
“My name is Rev. Dr. Shederick L. Whipple, Sr. and I am the only full- time(tenure-track) African-American faculty member at Taylor University. There have been many racial problems that both my family and I have experienced since arriving at Taylor University. I was told that blacks come here and leave and they do not like it but it was really the black person’s fault. This faculty member went on to talk about the KKK as if it was just a simple issue. My chair was present during this conversation and was completely silent. Another important event happened during this visit to Taylor. The next day while looking for homes, I went to a faculty member’s home for sale. While my wife and I were looking at the home, he pulled me to the side and said, “I have to ask you, what would make you want to come here and live with all of these white people?” I was horrified. Other events were to come. There were several uncomfortable conversations about being black here. We were told several times by faculty members that this is an all-white community. My children were called names by children of Taylor faculty members, such as, “you look like a black horse.” Comments were made about my daughters hair such as, “It must be difficult for your mother to do your hair.” My wife was invited to a faculty member’s home once. When she arrived to the unfamiliar area, she called the faculty member from the car using her cell phone. The faculty member would not answer the cell phone call but called our home instead. They saw my wife from the window but would not let her in the home. Nevertheless, knowing that God had sent us to Taylor University for such a time as this, I have stayed the course.
Coming to Taylor University, I was walking into a difficult situation as I was the fourth person to hold my position in four years. I know for a fact that my immediate predecessor had serious problems with the faculty member that told me I was here because I was black. First of all, I was told to my face by faculty members that I was here because I was black. This was said to me once I began to have a great deal of success with my productions, students, and brought several world class musicians to Taylor. At my first annual faculty retreat (known as Colleagues’ College), I was told by a faculty member at a lunch table full of white professors “that I looked different”. After making the statement he burst into laughter and really felt good about himself while I was extremely uncomfortable. I was told by several faculty members that because a black student was having academic problems that they were expecting me to understand his problems as if his ethnicity was tied to his learning problems. Also, it was reported to me that a faculty member was telling students that I was here because I was black. When I confronted the faculty member, she told me to my face that she had said that and I was at Taylor because I was black. First of all, I am here because God sent me. My race is an asset to the University. I was told by a faculty member that a student was helped by the university because he was black. Unfortunately, the faculty member was the black student’s advisor. I was also harassed with such actions as being yelled at in front of other colleagues and students by faculty members (something I never witnessed happening to other colleagues). I have had my office taken against my will by a faculty member because she wanted a place to teach. I was also yelled at on several occasions by this faculty member (Dr. Patricia Robinson). I reported these incidents to appropriate University personnel all to have meetings in which the actual incidents were never discussed and dealt with by University Officials. I have filed grievances through the University with witnesses of racism and no action was taken by the university to deal with the racial issues but ordered interpersonal counseling. However, I experienced retaliation from the university when I was told in writing and verbally by the Chair of my department that one of the items regarding my tenure (which means whether or not I would keep my job at Taylor) was the fact that I had complained of racism. The Dean of Liberal Arts also committed slander by stating that I refused to continue with counseling when I had written in 3 statements stating that I would continue with counseling. I filed grievances against the Chair for the racist and retaliatory statements and the Dean for slander. This grievance went through all levels of the University and the University supported both the actions of the Dean of Liberal Arts and the Chair of the Music Department. Hence, on July 31, 2012 I was given notice of Termination from the President. I appealed this decision and the president refused to recant his decision. Then the EEOC ( Equal Employment Opportunity Commission)got involved. Taylor University is currently under investigation by the EEOC for racism and retaliation.”
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