A university vice president was recently fired after it was proven she discriminated against the campus police chief because of his political views.
The College Fix reported that the University of North Dakota fired Cara Halgren, the school’s vice president for student affairs and diversity, because she discriminated against UND Police Chief Eric Plummer after she learned he voted for Donald Trump.
Plummer filed a complaint against Halgren alleging she created a “hostile and toxic environment” after she learned the police chief voted for Trump in2016.
“As Cara is a Vice President, I did not feel I could not answer, as at the time I was not comfortable answering; however, due to our longstanding business relationship, I told Cara who I had voted for in the election based on her request. She then continued ‘how could you have voted for that man?’”
Plummer said that after this exchange, Halgren canceled the breakfast meetings they had been having as part of their business relationship.
“This severely impacted my ability to foster and develop relationships within Student Affairs, which is a major portion of my job responsibilities,” Plummer wrote in his complaint.
Plummer also named Associate Vice President of Student Affairs and Diversity Cassie Gerhardt in his complaint, alleging that she and Halgren treated him unprofessionally and hostile.
“Their behavior became so pervasive that others, even those working within their own area, routinely would make comments regarding their unprofessional behavior in meetings and in other actions,” he alleged.
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The former police chief noted he had been left out of COVID-19 planning meetings. He also wrote he had been dismissed for urging privacy protection for a student of color that was the focus on a Behavioral Intervention Team meeting. He claimed Halgren dismissed his comments, saying the BIT is “just a bunch of white people sitting around the table.”
In one meeting on January 28, Halgren acknowledged that she changed the way she interacted with Plummer because of his political beliefs. At the meeting, she told administrators she “could not change the way she feels just to get along.”
At one point, Halgren suggested drafting up a memorandum of understanding between herself and Plummer in order to keep the work relationship going.
Plummer wrote that he thought “this is inappropriate to ask for me to go back to where the harassment started to create an MOU for ‘us’ to repair an issue that was created by her discriminatory conduct.”
Originally,in July, Administrative Law Judge Hope Hogan ruled Halgren hadn’t harassed Plummer and hadn’t created a “hostile environment,” but did rule that Halgren “discriminated” against Plummer based on his political beliefs. Halgren appealed, but the appeal was dismissed.
Halgren was fired in mid-September, the Fix reported.
“Today, I made the decision that it is in the best interest of the University to part ways with Dr. Cara Halgren as our Vice President for Student Affairs & Diversity,” university president Andrew Armacost said in a campus-wide email at the time. “Undoubtedly, this news will impact many people on our campus, and I ask that you refrain from speculating about this decision. It is important that we, as a community, continue to work together to move forward.”