Luc Hoekstra – Editor in Chief
A Monday morning report by Oregon Public Broadcasting which highlighted ill-treatment toward women of color Clark staff prompted a Tuesday morning email from Bob Knight, college president, after OPB published the first of their two-part series.
The article, by Molly Solomon, quoted women of color who left staff positions at Clark within the past year including Summer Brown, who said she felt her white supervisors scrutinized her work as the only black counselor in the Counseling and Health Center.
The Indy covered Brown’s departure in the spring of 2018 when she, Dolly England, Felisciana Peralta, Loretta Capeheart and other women on staff left the college, all citing similar experiences as women of color.
Dolly England held the position of Diversity Outreach Manager and hosted a quarterly workshop called, “Young, Brown and Talented.”
Felisciana Peralta served as head of the Penguin Pantry, Clark’s on-campus food pantry for students and their families. Peralta left her position at Clark after nine years to serve as Mt. Hood Community College’s Director of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion.
Knight’s email echoed Clark’s commitment to a safe college for all and called the report from OPB, “disheartening.”
“We cannot hope to properly serve our diverse student body if they do not see us valuing the employees who serve as their role models and mentors,” he said.
Knight said he and the Executive Cabinet plans to offer staff and faculty debriefing sessions, opportunities for anonymous debriefing and a “college community gathering” to find solutions for retaining employees of color. The gathering will be announced at a later date by the Office of Diversity and Equity.