Statement of Virginia Commonwealth University on EEO Investigation Report

The VCU Office of Institutional Equity has completed an Equal Employment Opportunity investigation of the non-renewal of James Finley’s contract. The report, submitted to VCU President Michael Rao, determined that Finley’s discrimination complaint was unfounded and that the employment action was taken in compliance with VCU employment practices and policies.

“The Office of Institutional Equity’s exhaustive investigation confirmed that the employment decision was made in accordance with VCU policies and not as the result of any discriminatory action by our athletic director,” said Rao. “I continue to have confidence in the process that produced the report and in Ed McLaughlin as VCU’s athletic director.

“We work vigorously across the university to ensure that VCU is an inclusive and fair community, embracing all people of all backgrounds,” Rao said. “I have a personal, passionate commitment to advancing diversity in all of its forms and expect the same of my senior leadership team.”

The investigation included fact-finding interviews with 16 individuals and a review of applicable personnel records.  The investigation concluded that allegations of discrimination based on sexual orientation were unsubstantiated. The details of the report cannot be released publicly by VCU without the consent of the complainant because they include confidential personnel information.

“This case has served as an opportunity to open new discussion and explore exemplary practices in how we demonstrate our commitment to diversity at VCU,” said Wanda Mitchell, vice president of diversity and equity. “We will be engaging the university community to consider new ways of moving forward to ensure that VCU continues to be a national leader in promoting access, equity, diversity and excellence as a public urban research university.”

Mitchell said that in the near future her office will announce several initiatives to further strengthen diversity efforts at VCU. These initiatives will include opportunities for professional development among senior leadership and others that ensures advocacy for diverse and inclusive environments and promotes a culture of civility and respect for all individuals.