Justice

Jazz students allege discrimination at WMU

Two alumni accuse WMU's all-white jazz program of racial discrimination.

Two former students at Western Michigan University’s School of Music say they faced racial discrimination while they were studying under Professor Greg Jasperse. Jasperse is the head of the school’s widely revered vocal jazz ensemble, Gold Company.

WMUK reports that the school has cleared Jasperse of wrongdoing, but ongoing complaints have grabbed the ears of WMU administrators.

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What Happened: Former students of color say that Jasperse, who is white, treated them differently than their white, male cohorts.

One student said she was denied promotion in her program in favor of less qualified white men. Another said Jasperse refused to stop white students from using the N-word in educational settings.

The Response: WMU officials say the school investigated complaints and in February cleared Jasperse of any wrongdoing. Nonetheless, allegations of discriminatory behavior are being addressed – including with university President Edward Montgomery.

One of the complainants met with Montgomery last week to discuss changes that could be made at the School of Music to promote a more fair and equitable environment.

You can read the full story here.

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