Civil rights leader Jarrett Maupin and 13 "female abuse victims" will hold a press conference today alleging racism and misogyny at the Maricopa County Community College District.
In a breathless news release issued this morning, Maupin writes of college teachers prohibited from taking bathroom breaks, rampant sexual harassment and victims driven nearly to suicide by MCCCD "staff and administrators."
Maupin's gathering with the women and attorney David Dow at Arizona State University's Cronkite School of Journalism in downtown Phoenix at 1:30 p.m.
Besides giving up details of the alleged abuse outlined vaguely in the news release, Maupin and Dow intend to announce the imminent filing of a "Multi-Million Dollar lawsuit/claim."
"This is one of the greatest cases of systematic discrimination by a college district I've seen," Maupin tells New Times. "It's happened for years, but it's come to a head in the last year."
A spokesman for the district wasn't yet aware of the news release when we phoned him; we'll let you know if he makes a comment later.
Samantha Spurlock, a "white female victim," is quoted in the news release and will be one of the speakers: "While I was a student at the Maricopa Skills Center, I observed infinite acts of hate including discrimination, slander, favoritism, bullying, intimidation, and harassment in various forms... Maricopa Skills Center and MCCCD neglected countless complaints and grievances, but that ends today."
"The higher-ups are empowered bigots and bullies, drunk with power," Dana Burns, called a "black female victim," states in the release. "They employ twisted and ugly policies and practices."
Some of the women were "so seriously abused, they wanted to commit suicide," the release states.
Powerful words. It'll be interesting to see if the group can back them up with evidence. They claim that's what they'll do; Maupin intends to distribute "notice of right to sue" letters by the federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, plus "copies of police reports, video/audio recordings" and other proof of their claims.
Maupin says a cosmetology instructor at the Skills Center was told she had to work for 10 hours straight and would be fired if she took bathroom breaks. We expressed skepticism about that, but Maupin says it was "confirmed" by co-workers. The woman ultimately had to see a doctor because of kidney problems, he says.
Another woman was fired after she agreed to pray for a student, he claims.
Maupin, who had to resign from his position on the Phoenix Union High School governing board in 2009 for lying to the FBI, has made a couple of missteps in the last year, including helping to negotiate a failed deferred-prosecution agreement for celebrity bad-mom Shanesha Taylor. As an energetic organizer and president of the Phoenix-based Progressive Christian Coalition, though, he's managed to stay relevant by filling an activist role -- particularly in the black community -- that few others have attempted.
We'll update this article after the news conference.
UPDATE: See our follow-up article here: Problems Alleged at Maricopa Skill Center are Lacking in Evidence
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