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Racism Alleged at Grand Canyon University

PHOENIX (CN) - Grand Canyon University fired an administrator who objected to the school's institutional racism, the former development director said. Timothy Serey claims that the boss who fired him acknowledged that "Grand Canyon University was 'this far' from the KKK in terms of racism" and that a former college president was a "known White supremacist."

Serey sued the college in Federal Court; there are no individual defendants. Serey claims he was fired for supporting black employees who suffered from the school's discrimination.

Serey says a black employee, Tracey Little, approached him because she believed she was being discriminated against. Despite warnings from his supervisor, Jennifer Scott, to quit communicating with Little and two other black employees, Serey said he continued to speak with Little, which led to Scott firing him.

Serey claims a similar incident happened when the university sought to fire another black employee, Nicole Quaw-Thompson. Margaret Simmons, Grand Canyon's vice president of academic affairs, refused to fire Thompson, so the school fired Simmons, Serey says.

He adds that these are not the only incidents of racial discrimination at the university.

According to the complaint, Scott told Serey that "Grand Canyon University was 'this far' from the KKK in terms of racism" and that the university's former president, Bill Williams, was a "known White supremacist."

Serey claims that Scott criticized five university employees, three of them black, telling Serey, "It kind of makes you wonder if it is worth the trouble of hiring them."

He claims that in 2004 four nursing students from Nigeria complained that an instructor had told them "that they did not belong in the nursing program at Grand Canyon University and 'should go back to Africa.'" Serey says he reported the comment to Scott, who did not take disciplinary action against the teacher.

Serey seeks punitive damages for discrimination, retaliation and civil rights violations. He is represented by James B. Shields II with Milligan Lawless Taylor.

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