Investigation Finds Admissions Official Not Responsible for Allegations of Discriminatory and Hostile Working Environment

Mary Chappell | The PhoenixFlyers calling for the termination of Loyola's dean of undergraduate admissions were hung around campus during protests earlier this fall.

Loyola concluded its external investigation into an undergraduate admission official accused of fostering a “toxic” work environment earlier this year, finding the official wasn’t responsible for “hostile work environment, discrimination, or retaliation.”

The conclusion of the investigation was announced to the Loyola community in a Dec. 17 email from the Provost’s office, which oversees academic affairs. The university said it hired an external investigator to “ensure fairness” — that investigator was Ablin Law, a Chicago firm specializing in workplace investigations, according to Loyola spokesperson Anna Rozenich.

The firm couldn’t be reached as of Dec. 18.  

The investigation was sparked by a formal complaint to the university and a resignation letter from Loyola’s former Associate Director of Admission, Marcus Mason. The resignation letter was made public by various activist groups on campus, The Phoenix previously reported.

In the letter Mason wrote of  “a toxic atmosphere of hostility, intimidation, fear and manipulation within the Undergraduate Admission Office (UAO), especially pertaining to people of color.” He said the atmosphere was “created” by Dean of Undergraduate Admission Erin Moriarty, The Phoenix reported.

Neither Mason nor Moriarty responded to requests for comment. 

Many students took to social media in the hours after the announcement to share their grievances. Our Streets LUC, a student protest group demanding better support for Black students at Loyola, among other things, has been active in calling for Moriarty’s termination. The group posted a statement to its Instagram condemning the outcome.

“For a University to claim that it is dedicated to providing a culture of safety, respect, equity and inclusion within the University’s workspaces and educational settings while allowing such blatant racism within the community is disgusting,” the statement said. 

Our Streets LUC organizer Dorien Perry-Tillmon didn’t respond to request for comment. 

The university said the investigation included an examination of evidence from both sides, as well as witness interviews. 

“The findings were that the manager did not violate the University’s Comprehensive Policy with respect to the allegations of hostile work environment, discrimination, or retaliation,” the statement said. “Therefore, the manager was found not responsible.”

The University’s Comprehensive Policy outlines prohibited conduct and includes discrimination, sexual misconduct and retaliation. Sanctions for discrimination include termination of employment for faculty, according to the policy. 

Spokespeople for the university didn’t answer follow-up questions regarding the investigation prior to publication.

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