FORT SMITH, Ark. (KNWA) — A racial discrimination claim against the University of Arkansas – Fort Smith head basketball coach has been unfounded.
Former basketball player Tyler Williams and his parents submitted a complaint Sept. 2, that Coach Jim Boone cut him from the team because of his dreadlocks.
UAFS Chancellor Dr. Terisa Riley sent a letter to everyone on campus Wednesday, Sept. 11, and stated that Beverly McClendon, UAFS EEO officer, didn’t find any substantial evidence to support Williams’ claim of racial discrimination.
Riley acknowledged the need for better communication during sensitive matters.
Following the claims, Riley stated community leaders, local and state legislatures, alumni, members of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, UAFS students and Fort Smith residents reached out to her regarding the matter.
“The past few weeks have been tremendously challenging for me and for many members of our community. We have spent this time asking incredibly difficult questions about our core values and how we show people that we value and respect them. We also have talked about forgiveness, compassion, the important role of education and our obligation to create a better world.”
She also stated she is unable to release the investigation report due to legal issues.
Riley stated she assures that UAFS athletics, “… will not condone or allow a policy, procedure, or practice—conveyed verbally or in writing—to dictate the hairstyles or hair lengths for its student-athletes.”
Changes are going to happen at the campus. Riley stated that a diversity and inclusion director is going to be hired, campus diversity and inclusion will be created to improve policies and procedures to create a more inclusive environment.
An open forum about race, inclusion and improvements is going to be hosted at the campus Tuesday, Sept. 17. Everyone is invited.