Governor Hochul called on to order "open, honest and transparent" investigation of SUNY

Claims of discrimination linger at SUNY Alfred
Kathy Hochul
Posted at 4:00 AM, Dec 10, 2021
and last updated 2021-12-13 09:33:09-05

BUFFALO, N.Y. (WKBW) — As embattled State University of New York Chancellor Jim Malatras is set to resign from his position— a little more than a month from now— there are calls for Governor Kathy Hohcul to give the State Attorney General special authority to investigate SUNY.

A five-page letter was sent to the governor by Peter von Stackelberg, who is a former instructor at SUNY Alfred State College.

von Stackelberg has filed discrimination complaints, with the New York State Division of Human Rights. He's one of at least four current or former Alfred State College stafferswhose claims of discrimination are being heard by an administrative law judge. von Stackelberg claims he was discriminated against based on his age and forced out of his teaching position.

He says his contract was not renewed with SUNY Alfred after an administrator was heard in a meeting explaining it was "time to get rid of the old white guys."

Alfred has been under SUNY investigation for nearly a year. That investigation was opened by order of Jim Malatras. But nearly a year later, the investigation is still not done.

"That investigation apparently is either buried or it's ongoing with no end in sight," von Stackelberg said.

In his letter to the governor, von Stackelberg writes, "Malatras has had the power to bring about change since was appointed in 2020. Unfortunately, he has done nothing to deal with systemic discrimination within SUNY."

The I-Team asked von Stackelberg if he was concerned about the future of the SUNY investigation with Malatras' resignation announcement. He said, "I'm concerned that this kind of behavior will continue. It occurred before he got there and unless we get major reforms, it's likely to continue after he leaves."

von Stackelberg is calling for top-to-bottom reform of how SUNY handles complaints of discrimination, harassment and sex assault. He's calling on the Governor to honor a commitment she made to clean up Albany, by ordering an open and transparent independent investigation of SUNY.

Governor Hochul has said she supports the investigation into SUNY Alfred State College.

We have once again reached out to Governor Hochul's office to get a response to this letter and to see if she would have the AG open an investigation. Instead, a spokesperson sent a statement saying pretty much what she's already said:

"Governor Hochul has been very clear: there can be zero tolerance for harassment or discrimination, and we support SUNY's efforts to investigate every complaint thoroughly."

A SUNY Alfred State College spokesman released this statement to 7 Eyewitness News, on behalf of the Officer in Charge, John Anderson:

ASC follows very aggressive and transparent anti-discrimination procedures to assist with such allegations. As I recently reinforced in communication to our entire campus:

At Alfred State we live up to our reputation for being a close-knit and caring community. It is important for our entire team to show our support and to maintain a respectful and safe environment for all students, faculty, and staff. We are eager to show how proud we are of you. We also make ourselves available to encourage anyone with concerns to voice them as we all work to continually improve our great college.