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The university eliminated the position of director of the Multicultural Center, effectively firing Linda Daniels, who held that job and was not placed elsewhere at the university. Daniels was in the job for more than 17 years. The position was eliminated “for efficiency” in the office, according to university documents.

University eliminates Multicultural Center director position

Multicultural Center Director position is cut out of the program.

Director of Multicultural Center no longer exists as a position at Ohio University.

Linda Daniels, who held that position and worked at OU for 17 years, is not employed at OU after the job was eliminated.

Her superior, Shari Clarke, vice provost for Diversity and Inclusion, insists that Daniels wasn’t “fired,” though Daniels was not given another position at the university.

Daniels’ position was eliminated, “for efficiency,” according to a university file detailing the situation.

According to the file, the position’s “abolishment,” was “to enable the office to function more efficiently, with a strategic targeted focus.”

“I had no reason to believe that when I came back after Christmas vacation that there was a problem,” Daniels said. “(Clarke) came into my office the next day, and said ‘Can I speak to you for a minute?’ and the next thing I know, I’m, in essence, fired after 17 years.”

Clarke declined to comment on Daniels’ performance.

Clarke also declined to conduct an annual performance evaluation of Daniels, and others employed under her jurisdiction, because she said she believed she hadn’t been employed at OU long enough to make a sound judgment. Clarke was hired at OU in October 2013.

Clarke is taking on Daniels’ responsibilities.

“The position has been abolished, but the responsibilities for that position are under my purview. I am responsible for that role as the vice provost for diversity,” Clarke said. “That is the only change; the budget remains as is, the center remains as is, the staff that is in place remains there as well.”

The position will officially no longer exist on April 7.

Human Resources approved Clarke’s request to eliminate Daniels’ position, but Daniels said she wasn’t told why the position was eliminated.

Clarke did not immediately respond to a request for comment to verify this statement.

“(Clarke) has to fill this out in HR in order to get approval to eliminate a position,” Daniels said. “And in that plan ¬— this spreadsheet that they have to fill out — they have to say why they’re (eliminating the position), how they’re going to cover things, etc. I haven’t seen this plan.”

It is unclear what will be funded by Daniels’ salary and benefits, totaling $106,361, though the decision was not made because of budget cuts, Clarke said.

The Multicultural Center’s staff was reduced in the 2010-11 academic year, so there shouldn’t be a need to make additional budget cuts, Daniels said.

Clarke stressed that the position has been “abolished” rather than “terminated,” but didn’t say why she eliminated Daniels’ position.

Daniels was informed that she was no longer employed at OU on Jan. 8, four days before Spring Semester started. The HR office also asked her to clean out her office on the weekends and at night, Daniels said.

“I think after 17 years, if anything, I’m hurt. With 17 plus years of my life and all of a sudden, I don’t even get an opportunity for students to say goodbye to me,” Daniels said. “You just want to rush me out and pretend like I don’t exist? … This is no way for Ohio University to treat longtime employees.”

John Brown VI, a senior studying painting and drawing, said he knew Daniels and was shocked to hear of her departure.

“It seems to lack professionally any kind of empathy from (Clarke) or the student community,” Brown VI said. “Usually there’s some sort of reason, and it’s fired with immediate effect, but there is no reason. Nobody is fired in immediate effect –– not even working at McDonald’s.”

@mmfernandez_

mf736213@ohio.edu

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