An after hours email to all faculty and staff at Truckee Meadows Community College, sent before Christmas, has generated new complaints of discrimination at the college.
The announcement indicated the college would be restructuring, a move that would eliminate the only male on the president’s leadership cabinet, according to sources.
“As a result of significant budget reduction planning, and after three years of dedicated service in the role of the Vice President of Finance and Administration, Jim New will be leaving the VPFA role on December 31, 2020,” TMCC President Karin Hilgersom wrote Dec. 18.
Some said the cuts were targeted.
“There appears to be significant gender discrimination going on at TMCC,” said Scott Huber, a TMCC faculty member. “If you look at the evidence, what you see is that positions are filled internally, and they are filled internally with individuals that will speak to the wants of President Hilgersom. She wants to drive off as many senior faculty — primarily senior male faculty — as she can.
“The Board of Regents apparently finds that perfectly OK.”
The Friday announcement by Hilgersom drew immediate rebukes from TMCC employees who did not wish to speak on the record. One employee said the cuts were a personal vendetta, and New reportedly filed a grievance contesting his dismissal from the vice president position, his attorney Michael Langton said today.
Hilgersom denied any discrimination.
“Allegations of gender discrimination are completely unfounded. President Hilgersom is a fierce supporter of equity and diversity,” said Kate Kirkpatrick, TMCC spokesperson. “TMCC continues to face significant budget reductions as a result of the devastating pandemic and must make difficult choices to preserve the core mission of providing educational opportunities to our students. Budget reductions, including personnel, were made across the College.”
A lawsuit against the institution is still making its way through the court system. Langton, who also represents TMCC instructor Thomas Cardoza in that case, said more briefs will be filed in the near future.
The Nevada Faculty Alliance last year threatened to censure Hilgersom, but that did not materialize. A previous lawsuit against TMCC, which also alleged discrimination and disparate treatment, was dismissed in court.
Bob Conrad is publisher, editor and co-founder of This Is Reno. He has served in communications positions for various state agencies and earned a doctorate in educational leadership from the University of Nevada, Reno in 2011. In addition to managing This Is Reno, he holds a part-time appointment for the Mineral County University of Nevada Extension office.