Discrimination ruling appealed
By Judy Kim
and Chris Schechter
A black MIT Campus Police officer has filed an appeal with the Massachusetts Commission Against Discrimination after the MCAD determined two weeks ago that he was not a victim of discrimination.
The officer, Ted Lewis, contested the "entire promotional procedure" of MIT's police force in July 1989, one month after he was denied a promotion to the position of sergeant. If upheld, the MCAD charges could lead to a formal discrimination lawsuit against MIT, since the Institute is fully responsible for maintaining equal opportunities for employees on campus.
In addition to the MCAD charges, Lewis filed a discrimination grievance within MIT, which was rejected. As a result, the case went to arbitration, and arbitrator Mark Irvings ruled in favor of MIT after several hearings.
After this decision, Lewis claimed that "to the Institute, I became a troublemaker." Aside from arbitration hearings held in October and November 1990, there was no formal investigation, according to Lewis. Lewis claimed that "no one wanted to look at what I was saying."
The charges Lewis filed through MCAD led to an investigation which, according to Lewis, was highly insufficient. While Lewis had joined MIT's Campus Police in 1983, MCAD records claimed his starting date was sometime in 1974. Lewis responded that this "made me wonder whose case they were looking at."
Vice President Constantine B. Simonides, who serves as the Institute's equal opportunity officer, affirmed that "MIT is absolutely responsible in seeing that there is no discrimination on campus."
MIT policy calls for
The current Campus Police promotional procedure includes a 500-word statement as well as an oral examination in front of a promotional board. The final decision on promotions, however, rests with Anne P. Glavin, chief of campus police.
One of Lewis' main complaints focused on the unwillingness of the department to provide sufficient information concerning the examination. Since Lewis' charges were filed, internal changes in the Campus Police department have led to more open and supportive exam preparations, according to both Glavin and Lewis.
Glavin asserted that there have been no further complaints about the promotional procedure. Despite the controversy surrounding the case, Glavin remains confident that the most qualified applicant was chosen as the new sergeant.
Simonides believes that MIT is completely loyal to its affirmative action policy. Lewis indicated, however, that he would like to "see MIT live up to the words it has spoken." He questioned the inconsistencies between MIT's non-discrimination policy and its actions to maintain and promote minority employees.
According to the Summary Report of the Affirmative Action Plan of MIT, which was issued this January, "special attention will be given to minority or women applicants." MIT's equal opportunity officers, including Simonides, are responsible for implementing this policy.
Lewis argued that if MIT actually implemented this policy, then his minority status as well as his competence should have been significant criteria in the promotion process.
Despite great financial hardships brought about by the judicial procedures, Lewis is still determined to challenge MIT's degree of adherence to its affirmative action policies. He asserted that he has become a "stronger, better person in terms of understanding justice." He indicated that students as well as other MIT employees have been "phenomenally fantastic" in their support of him and said that he will not stop fighting until justice prevails.