Following Logan Isaac’s September 2016 federal complaint, a compliance officer with the Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs (OFCCP) interviewed the Duke University Divinity School Associate Dean for Academic Programs, among other managerial employees. The interview was conducted over the phone on December 7, 2016. Here is a link to the OFCCP interview notes which we received through a Freedom of Information Act request. Some commentary is provided below the break which may provide some context as to why this interview is significant.
The Academic Dean joins the Interim Dean and Relations Dean in stating (in question 32) that they never received EEO/Affirmative Action training from the University, a violation of 41 CFR 60-300.44(g) and (j).
The University’s legal counsel also spoke for the Academic Dean several times, outlined here. The most notable example being in question 26, where it appears the dean has not answered at all, rather the compliance officer likely recorded the response of the attorney present.
The final section of the transcript covers “Documentary Evidence,” which includes questions about whether the interviewee has witnessed poor treatment of other veterans. Questions like this are intended to establish whether there is a pattern or practice of discrimination, like that which the 2013 Issues and Proposals document shows, including item 4 under Healthcare, and items 1 and 6 under Student Life and Community Affairs.
Black’s Law Dictionary defines stereotyping as “the relative fixed, erroneous and negative generalization held true for certain groups.” Decision making based on stereotypes and biases is strictly prohibited by University policy as well as several federal nondiscrimination laws. The Academic Dean provides a clear example of stereotyping in action, stating in question 43;
“Veterans usually have military items in their working space that could identify them as veterans or they tell others that they are veterans.”
The Academic Dean took what was true for one veteran, the Relations Dean, and applied that generically to all veterans. The Relations Dean kept military items in his workplace, but not all veterans do. In fact, many Duke Veterans prefer to remain anonymous, including student veterans at the Sanford School of Public Policy and the Divinity School.
Isaac was offered his first contract on November 19, 2015, when the Registrar sent him and a number of other undisclosed recipients offers for a Spring 2016 core course. In May, he learned he had been passed up for a subsequent offer, despite the University’s Affirmative Action Plan. Just over a month after he filed his internal complaint, on July 21, 2016, he received an email from the Registrar. This email differed from the first in that she CCed her boss, the Academic Dean, in an email directed exclusively at Isaac.
Copying her boss is noteworthy because, in her own OFCCP interview, the Registrar claimed that she knew nothing of Isaac’s concerns “until late August 2016.” (q.14d & 20b) This begs the question of why she altered her protocol from the prior semester by making sure her own supervisor saw the email offering a protected veteran employment after being made the subject of an internal complaint. There may be a legitimate reason why she did so, one of which may be that she knew Isaac filed a complaint and the academics staff was conducting damage control in order to stifle an EEO/Affirmative Action complaint.
Other OFCCP interviews can be found here.