BGSU faculty and students call for change after employee allegedly makes racist comment online

The employee is currently on paid administrative leave
Published: Aug. 31, 2020 at 7:38 PM EDT
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BOWLING GREEN, Ohio (WTVG) - Faculty, staff and students in Bowling Green are rallying for change, after an employee at the University was placed on administrative leave after allegedly posting a racist comment online.

Kevin Paridon, a groundskeeper with the University, allegedly made a racist comment on social media last week. Friday, the University started an investigation and the employee was placed on paid administrative leave.

Today, more than 100 faculty members, staff and students took part in a silent vigil outside of the Student Union, followed by a march and protest that ended outside of the Administration building. The group chanted “Black Lives Matter” outside the office of the President, Provost and Dean of Students demanding answers and a change.

“This type of stuff is going to continue happening and we need to do something about it,” says CJ Ibe, a second year student at BGSU.

Some of those who took part were students who say while BGSU touts diversity they need to do a better job responding to incidents like this and are urging the University to take action.

“Why is he being put on paid administrative leave? He should be fired, suspended. He said [racial slur]. You have black students on this campus who feel unsafe and all you can do is put him on administrative leave? That is not ok and we will continue to come out here until they really understand that black lives really do matter,” says a second year student at BGSU.

Rebecca Skinner Green, Ph.D., is a faculty member at BGSU. She wrote a letter to the President and Provost asking for support for black students and black faculty members and called on the University to speak up and take a stand so that everyone feels welcome on campus.

Dr. Green is one of many who are hoping the University takes additional steps to bring in more black students and faculty and give them support, something Green says is not happening as much as it needs to be right now.

We took the concerns straight to the top. President Dr. Rodney Rogers agrees with the concerns. He says BGSU created and hired a chief diversity and belonging officer last year and created the Division of Diversity and Belonging and is working on a plan to make sure the playing field is level for all students, but Rogers admits it is a work in progress.

“We have to get much better, especially as a public university we have to figure a way forward and we have to find a way. We are committed on addressing these issues, " says President Rogers.

The University also posted a public message on social media explaining the situation to the public.

On Friday, Bowling Green State University became aware of the racist and violent comments shared on Facebook by an...

Posted by Bowling Green State University on Monday, August 31, 2020

As for what’s next for Paridon, an official investigation is underway. President Rogers says the University will take appropriate action once the investigation is complete.

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