Chestnut Hill’s City Council representative Cindy Bass has co-sponsored a resolution that condemned Chestnut Hill College for fighting a finding of discrimination in a recent decision by the Pennsylvania Human Relations Commission.
That decision found that Chestnut Hill College meted out harsher penalties to minority students and ruled that the 2012 expulsion of senior Alan-Michael Meads, a black student who initiated the complaint against the school with the HRC, should be reversed.
Meads was expelled after he failed to turn in proceeds from a school production of “Raisin in the Sun” he had directed.
Bass joined Council at-large members Helen Gym and Derek Green in making the resolution on Oct. 6. The resolution reads in part that City Council condemns Chestnut Hill College “for seeking exemption from anti-discrimination laws in its appeal to Commonwealth Court following a finding of probable cause of racial discrimination by the Pennsylvania Human Relations Commission, in defiance of its obligation to respect the civil rights of its students and employees, and urging the College to withdraw its appeal.”
The college is challenging the finding in court, arguing that the HRC does not have jurisdiction over a private, religious school. In a story last August, Chestnut Hill College attorney Danielle Banks argued that most private college students will still be federally protected under Title VI and Title IX, which protect against race and gender discrimination, respectively.
Banks promised the school would fight the HRC decision.
“Mr. Meads was not discriminated against,” Banks said. “Just because someone says they were discriminated against does not mean they were.”
Bass said she would meet with Chestnut Hill College representatives this week. – Pete Mazzaccaro