The board controlling Southwestern College held a listening to Tuesday about whether or not to fire an employee for neglecting to adequately supervise a student election final 12 months that turned a fiasco, however the board delayed taking motion.

The neighborhood faculty in November demoted Brett Robertson from director of student growth to student companies supervisor after the faculty investigated a contentious student authorities election that resulted in public student conflicts, together with allegations of a racist social media submit.

Robertson was the one faculty employee slated to lose his job over the election, though the faculty’s 218-page investigation report barely talked about him and accused two different faculty staff of misconduct. A number of dozen folks attended his termination listening to and plenty of clapped to point out their assist for him.

Robertson has labored at Southwestern for 5 and a half years and in 2018 took residence $106,531 in pay, in response to Clear California.

Final spring the annual student authorities election turned mired in allegations of racism and wrongdoing. The election pitted a slate of principally Hispanic student candidates, Group Inexperienced, towards a slate of black candidates, Group Elite.

Southwestern Superintendent/President Kindred Murillo suspended the election and employed legal professional Kelly Minnehan to research. The investigation took greater than 5 months and value the faculty $120,000, in accordance to a school spokeswoman.

The investigation discovered that most of the allegations of racism and wrongdoing have been false.

Two faculty staff dedicated missteps that fed these inaccurate allegations, the report stated: biology Assistant Professor and Black Student Union Advisor Trishana Norquist and Student Actions Coordinator Richard Eberheart.

Neither Norquist nor Eberheart responded to requests for remark.

The investigator discovered that Norquist had publicly and falsely accused 4 college students, together with some Group Inexperienced candidates, of creating a racist Instagram submit that included a video of the Group Elite presidential candidate protesting.

The investigator discovered that the Instagram submit was made by a student who was circuitously affiliated with both marketing campaign, who stated they made the submit as a parody of “ridiculous” politics on the faculty, the report stated.

As student actions coordinator and student authorities advisor, Eberheart was in control of overseeing the election course of.

The investigator discovered that Eberheart knowingly allowed a number of election violations to occur, together with permitting an election assembly to proceed with out the required 24-hour public discover and permitting nameless witnesses to lodge accusations of racism towards a Group Inexperienced student.

Robertson was talked about in two paragraphs within the report, which concluded that Robertson didn’t absolutely supervise Eberheart.

After Robertson protested his demotion, the faculty positioned him on paid depart in January and advised him they might transfer to fire him, he stated.

The school additionally demoted one other employee, Malia Flood, from her place as dean for student companies to director of incapacity assist companies, though she was not talked about within the investigation abstract report, stated Ricardo Ochoa, an legal professional for the union that represents the faculty’s directors.

In the meantime the faculty gave a verbal reprimand to Norquist, the college member, and to Eberheart, the student authorities advisor, though the report discovered every had dedicated misconduct throughout the election, Ochoa stated.

Ochoa stated the faculty was not following due course of by transferring to punish Robertson extra severely than the opposite staff.

“When you have disparate remedy, that’s a really fundamental cause why you’ll discover a violation of due course of,” Ochoa stated on the listening to.

On the listening to, Robertson, who’s brazenly homosexual, highlighted actions he has taken to assist LGBTQ and different college students.

He stated in regards to the election that he’s sorry the incidents occurred however he’s dedicated to “steady enchancment” in his work.

“I can’t management each state of affairs that happens, however I’ve all the time been dedicated to college students who’re rising and studying and generally make troublesome selections,” he stated.

In an announcement Wednesday, Southwestern Superintendent/President Kindred Murillo stated the faculty is counting on extra than simply the investigation.

“The investigation into the allegations towards people is just not the entire image,” she stated. “All personnel actions transcend the investigation to incorporate all the knowledge administration has.”

Along with the election, the faculty cited “previous efficiency points” from earlier years as justification for Robertson’s termination.

The school stated Robertson made feedback to a former student authorities president that the student believed have been primarily based on her race.

The school additionally accused Robertson of creating a resort room project for a student convention that, the faculty claims, finally led to a student being sexually assaulted by one other student. Particulars of the assault weren’t accessible.

Ochoa stated none of these allegations have been positioned in Robertson’s personnel file, so the faculty didn’t give Robertson a possibility to deal with them, which is one other violation of due course of.

Past itemizing the allegations towards Robertson, the faculty’s board didn’t publicly remark however met for about an hour and 40 minutes in closed session.

“The board didn’t determine the matter tonight,” the faculty stated in an announcement Tuesday. “The specifics of the board’s dialogue and deliberation in deciding to not act tonight is confidential. Nonetheless, the board can proceed to contemplate the matter at a future assembly.”

As of Wednesday morning, Robertson was nonetheless on depart and stated in an interview he doesn’t know what’s going to occur subsequent.

“I gave it every part I had. I can solely hope for the perfect,” Robertson stated.