KALAMAZOO, Mich. (WOOD) — Western Michigan University students and alumni are urging administrators to rehire a woman they say supported their black and brown classmates.
“We’re losing someone that represented safety and security,” former student Monica Washington Padula said.
Washington Padula is calling on the school to rehire Sherrie Fuller.
“It’s very easy to feel at home wit her,” Washington Padula said.
Washington Padula met Fuller at the university’s division of Multicultural Affairs, where she said she received her scholarship. Fuller was the assistant director for the school’s Martin Luther King Jr. Student Scholars Academy.
“We care for her as well as all the years she spent caring for us and letting us know we mattered and belonged at the university,” Washington Padula said.
WMU student Eann Dixon said the university made a mistake.
“To me, it’s a slap in the face,” Dixon said.
Dixon created an online petition for the educator, calling it “Justice For Ms. Fuller.”
“She was hurt over it,” Dixon said. “This decision — it really hurt her.”
Thousands of people have signed the petition. One supporter, Sara Kellner, wrote, “Now is not the time to eliminate positions related to civil rights and diversity. Now is especially not the time to terminate someone who has served a university for three decades.”
“It was a big sense of loss, especially for those of us who’ve been impacted by her,” Washington Padula said.
News 8 reached out to the university for an explanation, but a spokesperson said she can’t comment on personnel matters. According to students, Fuller was let go because of budget cuts.
News 8 is still waiting to hear back from Fuller.