HR Strange But True!
September 16, 2005

At a briefing with employees, an official of Greenville Technical College in South Carolina referred to New Orleans residents who've been evacuated to Greenville as "yard apes." Then she made the same reference in another briefing. Today, she is an ex-employee of the college.

The college announced Wednesday that the official, Renee Holcombe, had resigned from her job as associate vice president for student services.

"She's not a member of this institution today," said Greenville Tech President Tom Barton told the Greenville News, adding that he was prepared to take action against Holcombe if she hadn't resigned.

The News reports that Holcombe, who had a staff of about 40, told employees in two separate briefings last week that the school's aid for the mostly black hurricane victims staying at the nearby Palmetto Expo Center would include sending yellow buses to pick up the "yard apes." Barton said there was "no doubt" about was said.

Holcombe declined to comment for the newspaper, except to say that she was "numb and shocked."

The head of the local NAACP chapter said he was most disturbed that none of the 15 black employees at the meetings reported the remark to his organization. He said it could indicate black employees "are afraid to speak up," although he has not fully investigated the matter.

The college took pains to portray the incident as an isolated one and pointed to its record of minority hiring, according to the News. The South Carolina Human Affairs Commission's annual report for 2004 shows the school ranked in the top 15 out of 77 state agencies for reflecting the diversity of the available labor pool.

Source: Greenville News

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