Four UW-Madison administrators are currently being investigated for allegedly discriminating against a student, according to the student filing the complaint and university officials.
The student, Oghenetega Anene-Maidoh, alleged the four administrators discriminated against him based on his “mental health status, race as a person of African descent and finally [his] gender.” The complaint involves Dean of Students Lori Berquam, Associate Dean of Students Argyle Wade and two assistant deans, Tonya Schmidt and Kipp Cox.
UW-Madison’s Office of Compliance accepted the complaint Wednesday, according to an email that Equal Opportunity Complaint Investigator Letissa Reid sent to the student. The accepting of a complaint is only the first step in the process and does not indicate a judgment of whether or not the discrimination occurred. A preponderance of evidence standard—which means it is slightly more likely than not that something happened—will be used to determine responsibility after the investigation is completed.
Anene-Maidoh reported four specific incidents of discrimination, alleging that these administrators released sensitive information, slandered his reputation and failed to provide adequate mental health care, according to the complaint.
Due to these alleged incidents, Anene-Maidoh said his mental health worsened—an outcome that fits the criteria for accepting a complaint. He also deferred taking a Ph.D. qualifying exam and finished the semester with several incomplete grades following these incidents, which he claimed occurred in summer and fall of 2016.
The Office of Compliance aims to have the investigation completed within 90 days, since it was filed by a student. After the investigation is complete, the office will either draft a resolution agreement if it finds discrimination did occur, or they will issue a letter of insufficient evidence.
UW-Madison spokesperson Meredith McGlone said the university would not comment because the case is under investigation.
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