Local News

Racism Accusations Fly Among Board Members Investigating College President

Posted September 27, 2005 8:20 a.m. EDT

— Board of Trustees members investigating allegations of wrongdoing of Halifax Community College's suspended president are dealing with their own issues within the board.

The embattled president of the community college, Ted Gasper, was placed on paid administrative leave last week while the board investigates allegations of wrongdoing, including budget issues and the cancellation of popular classes.

In its first meeting Tuesday since suspending Gasper, there were charges of racism within the board, where black members, for the most part, support Gasper, who is white.

"I resent that -- I told Mrs. Solomon the other day when she said I was a racist. I resent that," trustee Frank Avent. "She's only seen me three times in her life."

"All I said was this was a racially divided board. Then, he turns around and said I said he was a racist," said Lillie Solomon, chairwoman of the Board of Trustees. "All of you around this table should know the difference between those two statements."

The meeting became so hostile that a student who was scheduled to address the board stormed out in tears. She was there to request that the student concerns be considered during the investigation.

As for Solomon, the problems on the board are now someone else's. Her term as chairwoman ended Tuesday.