College investigating professor over meeting with students of color


ULLIN, IL — A community college professor has been put on paid leave and ordered to undergo sensitivity training.

Shawnee Community College professor Tony Gerard is accused of holding an inappropriate meeting with students of color. Gerard is one of the administrators of a controversial Shawnee Community College watchdog Facebook page that was recently taken down.

Nomie Whitaker said she’s concerned about her grandson’s safety. She said he told her his professor, Gerard, asked all the students of color to stay after class to talk about his problems with Shawnee President Peggy Bradford, who happens to be a black woman.

“If you want to talk about the president, you should have had everybody stay after class,” said Whitaker.

Whitaker, a Shawnee alumna herself, attended a meeting with Gerard. She said things took a nasty turn.

Tony Gerard

“He was getting in my face and raising his voice,” said Whitaker. “He said ‘We both are intelligent people. I didn’t want you to leave a mad black woman.'”

Bradford is not involved in the investigation, but she said the college is doing everything it can to get to the bottom of the issue.

“We are committed to the diversity, committed to making sure students have the best experience at the college, so we take any all allegations seriously,” said Bradford.

Gerard was put on paid leave for the semester after Whitaker and other students complained to the board. But Whitaker said that’s not enough.

“Anybody that has a child — whether they have a child or not — should be outraged by this behavior,” said Whitaker.

She said she plans to continue to fight that battle.

Local 6 reached out to Gerard, but he did not get back to us before this story aired. There is no word on how long the investigation will take.

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