Student Receives $2,500 for Emotional Distress Caused By Racial Slur
The University of Massachusetts has been ordered to pay a former student $2,500 for emotional distress caused by a racial slur from a cafeteria worker.
The Massachusetts Commission Against Discrimination also ordered in last month’s ruling that food service employees must undergo sensitivity training as a result of the February 1995 incident.
In the incident, student Ronald Dottin, who is Black, was in line at a dining hall on the university’s Amherst campus looking at the food choices when he said “Eeny, meeny, miny, moe.”
A White cafeteria employee, Emily Tozloski, responded, “Catch a n—– by the toe.”
Dottin reported Tozloski’s remark to her supervisor, who apologized. According to commission records, Tozloski, 73 at the time, told Dottin she never meant to offend him, then added that one of her family members had a child “by one of you people” and that she had worked with “you people.”
Dottin, now an investment banker with JP Morgan Investment Co. in Manhattan, said Tozloski’s remarks upset him as much as her initial comment and that he never ate in that dining hall again.
Tozloski was suspended after the incident and university officials sent written apologies to Dottin, a sophomore at the time.
“I think, what this will do is make them more sensitive,” Dottin told The (Greenfield,Mass.)Recorder.
School officials were disappointed with the ruling because the university has since instituted its own mandatory sensitivity training. “The program, instituted following the incident in question is ongoing. The university, however, will comply with the ruling of the MCAD [Commission],” says Paul Paige, vice chancellor for administration and finance at U-Mass.
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