An Oregon medical school assistant has taken a leave of absence for the strangest of reasons. Now she is collecting disability.
Campus Reform is reporting that Oregon Health and Science University Medical Assistant Maria Frazier, who is African-American, has demanded action from a “tone-deaf” administration, claiming she was shocked to see a “noose taped to the top of an explicitly-comedic poster about stress reduction.”
“Stress reduction kit. Bang head here,” the flyer stated. The door display was intended for stressed out med students to find relief in banging their heads against the wall, also a well known euphemism.
After the flyer was hung on the door, another physician’s assistant taped a small noose to the flyer in efforts to add further comedic humor to the display. According to the Portland Tribune, the assistant who hung the noose claims it wasn’t intended to be a racial statement.
Frazier said she was so distressed by the incident that she took leave from her job and reached out to her union leaders, who filed a grievance with the university on her behalf.
Because Frazier is African-American, she said that she felt the noose was “targeting her.”
Matt Hilton, President of Local 328 of the American Federation of County, State and Municipal Employees, said, “This type of behavior that she was subjected to should not be tolerated under any circumstances.”
He went on to say that some of his union members had been fired for “much, much less,” though, “in this case the person wasn’t even put on leave.”
The school conducted its own investigation and concluded the joke was not an act of racism. In response to the union’s grievance, administrators of the Oregon med school issued a statement saying that they are “sad she has perceived this incident as a racial gesture or that it was directed at her.”
The school has agreed to reimburse Frazier’s disability insurer for her absence from work.
Frazier continues to claim she cannot yet return to work due to doctor’s orders, stating that she “can’t deal with it.”
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