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Custodian gets apology from university over book incident

November 06, 2009
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INDIANAPOLIS — A custodian at Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis (IUPUI) who was accused of harassing black co-workers by reading Notre Dame vs. the Klan: How the Fighting Irish Defeated the Ku Klux Klan has received a formal apology from the university, according to the Indianapolis Statehouse Examiner.
According to the story, IUPUI Chancellor Charles Bantz apologized to Keith Sampson in a letter last Friday, saying the school is committed to free expression.
The drama unfolded over a year ago when several fellow custodians complained, eventually leading to an official warning by the school''s Affirmative Action Office for Sampson to stop "openly reading the book related to a historically and racially abhorrent subject in the presence of your black co-workers," the story stated.
Sampson, who, aside from being a university custodian is a student majoring in communication, said he accepts the university''s apology but was hurt by the allegations, the story noted.
Adam Kissel, Individual Rights Defense Program director for the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education, said: "By first finding Sampson guilty of racial harassment simply for reading a book in the break room, then refusing to admit the gross impropriety of such a finding, IUPUI make a mockery of its legal and moral obligations as a public institution of higher learning. The sentiment of the chancellor was expressing in all of the letters was that this whole matter could have and should have been handled differently."
Sampson, who learned in February that no disciplinatory action would be taken against him for lack of evidence his conduct was intended to disrupt the workplace environment, says his frustration stems from the university painting him as a different kind of person than he really is, the story added.
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