San Francisco State University. (Mike Koozmn/S.F. Examiner file photo)

San Francisco State University. (Mike Koozmn/S.F. Examiner file photo)

CSU launches review of SFSU hiring practices for alleged racial bias

An attorney for the California State University system is conducting a review of hiring practices at San Francisco State University following allegations of racial bias and discrimination, CSU Chancellor Timothy White said Friday.

While the SFSU administration has long been in conflict with the College of Ethnic Studies over budget issues and — most recently — hiring two faculty members, the review will be the first independent examination of the dispute.

Gary Lafayette, a San Francisco-based attorney with “extensive experience” in discrimination cases, will perform the third-party review of the claims to determine the underlying facts and issues in the case, White wrote in an email to various SFSU employees.

“What I’m doing is still preliminary,” Lafayette said when reached by phone. “[I’m] trying to wrap my hands around the nature of the dispute.”

On April 29, the chairs of the College of Ethnic Studies wrote to the chancellor and other state officials, claiming SFSU administrators retaliated against black students and its Department of Africana Studies for protesting “budget reductions” in Ethnic Studies.

Ethnic Studies was recently at the center of turmoil on campus after reserve funding used to close the college’s annual deficit dried up, which faculty and students chalked up to budget cuts.

Students ended a 10-day hunger strike May 11 under a compromise with SFSU President Leslie Wong, who agreed to designate an additional $482,806 for Ethnic Studies, including funding for the two positions in Africana Studies.

Yet the call for an investigation from the Ethnic Studies chairs still remained.

In their email to state officials, the chairs charged the university with refusing to adequately fund the college and hire the two candidates in violation of a CSU moratorium on changes to ethnic studies programming.

They also alleged civil rights violations for the inequitable funding of Ethnic Studies compared to other departments and hiring of minorities across the university.

Before the compromise, university officials denied the retaliation allegations and stated in response that Ethnic Studies is treated like other colleges.

Toni Molle, a CSU spokesperson, said Lafayette will produce a report with findings and recommendations.

“Those findings and recommendations will be reviewed by the chancellor and systemwide human resources to determine if any changes need to be made,” Molle wrote in an email to the San Francisco Examiner.

Lafayette is expected to spend “the next few weeks determining the
best approach” to the review, as well as detailing a timeline for it, White said.

California State UniversitiesCollege of Ethnic StudiesCSUeducationSan Francisco State UniversitySFSU

Just Posted

Salesforce Tower and several other buildings in downtown San Francisco can be seen through the fog; climate scientists report that The City’s beloved mascot may be on the decline. (Courtesy Engel Ching)
Is San Francisco losing its fog? Scientists fear the worst

This isn’t just an identity crisis for San Franciscans. It’s an ecological problem

Outside Lands boasts high-quality food and drink from dozens of purveyors, and many are local.<ins> (Courtesy Outside Lands)</ins>
Outside Lands is for food lovers

85 food vendors, 40 wineries, 30 breweries make the festival nourishing to gluttonous

California Highway Patrol officers watch as Caltrans workers remove barricades from homeless camp sites as residents are forced to relocate from a parking lot underneath Interstate 80 on Monday, May 17, 2021. (Kevin N. Hume/S.F. Examiner)
San Francisco’s broken promise to resolve homeless encampments

‘There is an idea that The City is leading with services, and they are not’

The Department of Building Inspection, at 49 South Van Ness Ave., has been mired in scandal since since its creation by voter referendum under Proposition G in 1994. (Courtesy
The Department of Building Inspection, at 49 South Van Ness Ave., has been mired in scandal since its creation by voter referendum under Proposition G in 1994. (Courtesy
Whistleblowing hasn’t worked at San Francisco’s Department of Building Inspection

DBI inspectors say their boss kept them off connected builders’ projects

Gabriela Lopez, Alison Collins and Faauuga Moliga were sworn in to the Board of Education on Jan. 7, 2019. The election date for their possible recall is Feb. 15, 2022. (Ida Mojadad/S.F. Examiner)
The silver lining of San Francisco’s ‘recall fever’

Recalls are an expensive but valuable amplifier for everyday people

Most Read