Students and alumni of a historically Black college (HBCU) in Missouri are demanding a change from the school leadership after a beloved administration leader died by suicide following alleged bullying by the university president.
Dr. Antoinette “Bonnie” Candia-Bailey’s death on Monday has sparked outrage on the campus and among its larger community after emails revealed that Lincoln University-Missouri President Dr. John Moseley has been accused of playing a role in the Vice President of Student Affairs’ suicide.
While all details surrounding the situation were not immediately clear, emails from Candia-Bailey show not just that Moseley “ignored” her complaints about his treatment but also that Lincoln University-Missouri’s Board of Curators refused to take any action when it was notified.
As a result, demands for Moseley’s ouster have been amplified in the days since Candia-Bailey’s death.
Multiple emails obtained by someone close to Candia-Bailey and shared with KRCG show she sent emails to Moseley and the board of curators outlining Candia-Bailey’s request for Family and Medical Leave (FMLA) and Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), state that the relationship between her and Moseley went “downhill” due to her severe depression and anxiety. Additional emails reveal that when she made complaints about how she was treated to the Board of Curators, the board president wrote a response back to her saying in part, “Please be advised the Board of Curators does not engage in the management of personnel issues for Lincoln University and will not be taking further action related to this issue.”
Candia-Bailey also wrote that she was “intentionally harassed and bullied” and that after receiving a poor evaluation, when she asked for help, Moseley “ignored requests (failing to respond to emails), or when face-to-face, danced around the topic.”
The president of the Lincoln University National Alumni Association is among those demanding Moseley be removed from his position.
“…I find myself standing in the state of hopelessness,” Sherman Bonds wrote Tuesday in a letter to the Board of Curators President Victor Pasley. “Therefore, my appeal to you and the Board of Curators is to find a resolution that restores the consciousness of peace and healing. As President of the Lincoln University (National) Alumni Association, I have become compelled to demand a change in the Office of Presidency of the University effective immediately.”
Citing sources, HBCU Buzz reported:
Dr. Bailey was left “unsupported, disregarded, and abused after countless attempts to speak out on the bullying and harassment she experienced in her role from President Moseley.” Dr. Bailey also reportedly discussed in a letter before her passing, the “stigmatized bullying she faced from the President and other leadership officials,” after disclosing her mental illness to the university.
Sources tell us that administration failed Dr. Bailey in her “cries for help” and should “no longer be allowed to lead Lincoln University.”
Candia-Bailey, a Lincoln University-Missouri graduate, only began her tenure at her alma mater in April.
“Lincoln University believed in me and provided numerous opportunities,” Candia-Bailey said in a statement announcing her hiring. “I’m where I’m at today because of the opportunities afforded at LU.”
Suicide in the Black community
Rates of suicide in the Black community have been soaring, particularly for Black women, who have the highest suicide risk among all women, according to research conducted by Boston University.
A study published in October found that Black women were 20% more likely to attempt suicide than women from any other background.
A separate study published in March in the Journal of Racial and Ethnic Health Disparities found that “[h]opelessness proved to be the most common reason that Black men considered suicide, and it was one of the most common reasons Black women consider suicide,” according to author Janelle R. Goodwill, Assistant Professor of Social Work, Policy and Practice at the University of Chicago.
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