California State University, Northridge
From the President's Desk
March 2, 2000
Administrative Review of Student Health Center IssuesCalifornia State University, Northridge is an institution with a proud history of and commitment to both diversity and tolerance, embodying the rich mosaic of the society that surrounds us. These two important qualities are part of what make us a special institution, and help create the fertile environment in which both our students and employees can grow and flourish.
Thus we were disturbed recently to learn that a former employee in the Student Health Center had raised allegations of anti-Semitism on the part of a supervisor there. As I have said many times, there is no place at Cal State Northridge for discrimination or harassment, anti-Semitic or otherwise. As a result, the university quickly proceeded to assess those allegations, and I today am able to report the completion and findings of that inquiry.
At my direction, Professor Earl Weiss, chair of the Accounting and Management Information Systems Department in the College of Business Administration and Economics, conducted a thorough administrative review of the allegations. Professor Weiss, who is an attorney, interviewed dozens of individuals, both current and former Health Center employees, and reviewed pertinent records and evidence in coming to his conclusions. I am very grateful for Professor Weiss' diligent and dedicated work in this process.
The finding of the review is that the evidence does not support the allegation of the former employee, who is Jewish, that she was dismissed from probationary status as a direct result of discrimination on the basis of her religion. The review found no direct evidence that the accused supervisor actually participated in the decision to terminate the employee. While the review found no pattern or even incidence of reported anti-Semitic actions on the part of the accused supervisor during a long period in the Health Center, the university is still reviewing the allegation that anti-Semitic comments were made.
As difficult and awkward as these issues are to broach in a public forum, the allegations ‹ absent any factual findings by the university ‹ have been publicly leveled by others and then reported in the local news media in recent weeks. Because of that and because of the nature of the allegations, I felt strongly that the campus community deserved to know the overall conclusions of this review process.
Through the above process, meanwhile, the university did identify some other issues of a broader administrative and operational nature within the Health Center. Thus, I have asked a four-member university committee to review the organization and functioning of the Student Health Center and report back its findings by the end of the school year. The committee will be headed by Department of Health Sciences Chair Miriam Cotler and include department faculty members Michael Kline and Louis Rubino, and Mr. Otis Spencer, medical group administrator at Kaiser Permanente Woodland Hills.
The Student Health Center is a key part of the university's service array for students, and deserves to be recognized for the fine work that daily occurs there. With the conclusion of the recent administrative review and looking ahead to the broader organizational assessment that will occur, we are now on a path to ensuring that the center's tradition of quality service is maintained.
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Interim President Louanne Kennedy