NAACP investigates claims of college discrimination - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

NAACP investigates claims of college discrimination

April 28, 2004

Albany-- The Director of Darton College Relations, Caroline Fielding, goes through a thick file of complaints and e-mails, regarding issues surrounding student Vickie Henderson.

Henderson remains in good academic standing at Darton College and is active in several campus organizations, but she claims she has been racially discriminated against by Darton administrators. "It's been very stressful, and they have put me through a lot of mental anguish," she said.

"Because I'm so vocal, they don't want me to be on the judiciary committees, academic appeals committee or the student services committee," said Henderson. "They want me there in body but not in voice, and I can't be a part of anything that I can't be there in voice as well."

Henderson has taken her complaints regarding grades, food services and parking tickets to administrative levels.

"She went right to the president's office," said Fielding. "I think a common misconception that a lot of people have, that if 'I have a problem, I can go to the top, and get it taken care of first.'"

When she did go through the correct procedure to get a meeting with the president, Fielding says, "She didn't come to the meeting. She e-mailed four minutes after it was starting, and said she had been advised not to meet with the president."

She was sending her complaints to the Board of Regents. Fielding said, "They believe that Darton College has handled all of her complaints correctly, and as far as they're concerned, the issues are closed."

The NAACP is investigating discrimination on the college campus. Minister: "Mrs. Henderson is only one of numerous students who have filed complaints and have issues at Darton College," said Bishop A. Williams of the NAACP.

"It doesn't matter to us your color, disability, your sex. That's what education is for. It gives everybody the same benefits," said Caroline Fielding.

But the NAACP says it wants an explanation. "Until they can rectify the situation, we will not let it die," Williams said.

Darton College says they're willing to go through records with the NAACP, saying they will do anything that makes the school a better place for learning for everybody.

Darton College did show us a discipline summary report. The numbers did not indicate any bias towards a particular race.

posted at 5:50PM by dave.miller@walb.com