LOS ANGELES (CBSLA.com) — A man removed from his job at Mount St. Mary’s University is suing the women’s college, saying he was fired for dancing with a student of another race.
Officials at the Catholic school say the dance was too sexual.
Mark Forte disagrees.
He believes the firing was race-related. As director of the campus Learning Resource Center, he says he was the only black senior staff member in a college where most of his colleagues were white women. Other staff members allegedly treated him with suspicion, causing him to feel “isolated and unwanted.”
After 15 years on the job, Forte was fired after accompanying some female students to the Fox Hills and was captured on video dancing with one of the students.
MSMU took issue with Forte accompanying two of the girls when one of them bought a day planner at a Victoria’s Secret store.
They also didn’t like a video posted on Facebook of Forte dancing with a student to music in the mall.
Forte says it was 30 seconds of a mock swing dance meant as “a spontaneous satire on the popular television show ‘Dancing With the Stars.'” He said there was nothing sexual about it.
The student was of a different race and that “triggered the racist and repressive college administration into action,” according to the lawsuit.
Although there is nothing prohibiting such such behavior off-campus and after working hours between staff and a student, Forte was fired Sept. 2 and told his conduct was “incompatible” with the responsibilities of his position as well as with “the college’s values and mission,” the suit states.
Forte says he was shocked.
To support his claim, the suit cited a 2014 report by a Western Association of Schools and Colleges commission finding MSMU lacked a commitment to support diversity in curricular offerings and hiring practices.
The MSMU website states that the institution is a “Catholic college primarily for women” that offers a liberal arts learning experience to a diverse student body.
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