Andrea Herrera, who was associate vice chancellor for equity, diversity and inclusion at the University of Colorado, Colorado Springs, said she was pushed out of her position after multiple disagreements with Chancellor Venkat Reddy about the resources that the university should put into its diversity and inclusion goals, according to The Denver Post.
In a letter to faculty members, Herrera wrote that Reddy created an “increasingly toxic workplace environment,” the Post reported. Herrera told the Post she was not supported in her position and did not have other staff members in her office for 13 months. She said her experience is an example of universities claiming they are committed to diversity and inclusion but lacking dedicated resources and failing to support staff members of color in that area.
“Women of color are told youʼre not focused, you donʼt understand your role, disappointment is expressed about your outcomes,” Herrera told the Post. “This is a bigger story about whether universities are really committed to diversity or if itʼs just superficial lip service.”
Reddy told Herrera last month that she could either accept payment to resign and waive her right to sue the university, resign outright or be fired from the position, the Post reported. She decided to be removed and was reassigned as a women’s and ethnic studies professor on Nov. 1, according to a university press release. In a statement to the Post, Chris Valentine, assistant vice chancellor of marking and communications declined to give details about Herrera’s removal but defended the university’s commitment to inclusivity.
“We aspire to strengthen equity, diversity and inclusion as integral components of academic excellence in preparing students for success in a culturally, ethnically and racially diverse global society,” the statement said.