THATCHER — A former Gila Community College student’s claims of racial and gender discrimination got a second hearing by the Graham County Community College District governing board Wednesday.
The board voted unanimously to uphold the decision by the Equal Employment Opportunity committee, rejecting the claims by Dorina Flores-Barela. Flores-Barela claimed she was denied the same opportunities afforded a white male student-athlete and that her complaints over the alleged discrimination were not appropriately addressed.
The Equal Employment Opportunity committee is made up of Eastern Arizona College faculty and staff and is appointed by the governing board when a complaint is filed.
Board chairman Richard Mattice prefaced the Graham County Community College District governing board hearing by reminding everyone that the current hearing would determine solely whether to uphold the EEO committee's decision based on evidence provided and not whether the board felt there had, in fact, been improper conduct by any member of GCC's staff, faculty or administration.
Flores-Barela read a statement to the board describing her experiences with GCC senior Dean Steven Cullen and with several members of GCC's front desk staff. She originally filed a complaint in June 2012, but she said that her concerns were given less than adequate consideration, and she filed a formal grievance Nov. 21, 2012.
After Flores-Barela spoke, Associate Director of Administrative Support and EEO coordinator for GCC Lauri Avila, who was the investigator assigned to the complaint, stated that she had spoken to all parties named in the complaint, as well as several other staff members at GCC. Avila's determination was that each employee with whom Flores-Barela interacted “made an adequate effort to address her concerns in an appropriate manner.”