Local News

Meredith police officers laid off

Posted May 21, 2010 5:27 p.m. EDT
Updated May 22, 2010 8:39 a.m. EDT

— A group of Meredith College police officers laid off Friday say they were let go because of complaints they filed against the school, and they believe the campus is now less safe.

The four officers and a police captain each received a letter saying their positions were eliminated "because of the need to decrease the college's budget."

Jean Jackson, the vice president for college programs, said the move was aimed at reducing the college's $59 million budget by 5 percent.

"I explained to the officers when I spoke with them that nothing about this decision is performance-based. This was a positional decision," Jackson said.

Employees in other departments have been released in recent weeks, she added.

But Eddie Wheeler, who was captain of the six-member police force at the women's college for a decade, disagrees.

He said he thinks the move stems from discrimination complaints several of the officers filed against the school.

"A lot of the parents send their kids (to Meredith) because they know they have sworn, certified police officers to protect their students," Wheeler said. "Now, they have nothing."

Jackson said that is not the case. The school still has two officers and a staff of security guards. She said she does not think safety on campus will be affected.

"If I thought that were true, I would not have made these decisions," Jackson said. "I can assure any parents that are listening that we provide for safety and security of our students seven days a week, 24 hours a day, 365 days a year."