Governor Hochul supporting SUNY investigation into discrimination claims at Alfred State College

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Posted at 8:16 AM, Nov 19, 2021

BUFFALO, N.Y. (WKBW) — Governor Kathy Hochul's office is responding to bombshell allegations, exposed by the 7 Eyewitness News I-Team of sex assault, discrimination and retribution at SUNY Alfred State College, brought forward by three people.

Two of those people are current staffers. One man claims his contract was not renewed because of his age.

In response to our investigation, the Governor's office has released a statement explaining:

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.

But SUNY has been investigating these claims since January. Almost a year later, there's been no end to the investigation.

Alex Bitterman is coming forward after being demoted last year, from chair of the Architecture and Design department to professor of Architecture and Design. He is still currently in that role.

In documents filed with the State, the professor claims he was demoted because of his age and sexual orientation.

Dr. Karla Back, a professor of business at Alfred State College, claims she was discriminated and retaliated against, based on her age and disability.

Peter von Stackelberg also believes he was discriminated upon based on his age. He bases his claim on a comment — he says was made — by the Provost of the school. Witnesses say she said it was "time to get rid of the old white guys." Shortly after they say that comment was made, von Stackelberg was told his contract would not be renewed with Alfred State College.

The I-Team asked the Governor's office if Governor Hochul had faith in SUNY Chancellor Jim Malatras. He was put in his position by former Governor Andrew Cuomo. We did not get a response to that question.