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May
20
2024
Antioch College

Antioch College President Jane Fernandes met and spoke briefly with those gathered, but declined to comment further on the January termination of Banks. (Photo by Truth Garrett)

Locals protest firing at Antioch College’s Wellness Center

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The community push for mediation between former Wellness Center employee Guy “Tron” Banks and Antioch College continued Friday, April 5, when several dozen local residents held a demonstration on college grounds.

As the News reported last month, Banks was fired from his position as a personal trainer at the Wellness Center in January following allegations of “threatening behavior” from Wellness Center Director Kathy Kern Ross, who was hired days before the firing took place. Banks has denied displaying threatening behavior, and Antioch College administration has not publicly commented on the details of the allegations made by Kern Ross.

Since Banks’ firing, dozens of letters to the editor in the News’ “Community Forum” section have outlined positive experiences with Banks and, noting that he is a Black man accused of misconduct by a white woman, have questioned the motivation of the firing. Letter writers have also cited an apparent lack of transparency with regard to the termination, and have called for mediation between Banks and the college — a charge initially led by local group The 365 Project, whose stated mission, in part, is “responding to public issues related to racial equity 365 days a year.”

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Antioch College President Jane Fernandes wrote a brief response to letter writers and the wider community, published in the “Community Forum” section of the March 8 issue of the News, in which she stated that she was “open to the possibility that mediation and conversation will move forward in the not-too-distant future.”

Bearing signs in support of Banks, on the morning of April 5, demonstrators met outside the Wellness Center — which, according to a since-deleted post on the center’s Facebook page and a sign posted to the door of the building, was closed for the day due to “public safety concerns.” Also posted on the door, by demonstrators, was a timeline of events since Banks’ firing, which stated that there has “not been a decision to bring the issue to mediation” since Fernandes’ March 8 letter.

“We demand that President Fernandes act on Antioch College’s professed values of due process, equity, fairness and justice and agree to impartial mediation now,” the sign read. 

Those gathered for the demonstration filed from the Wellness Center to the “horseshoe” outside Antioch Hall, where the group’s demands were restated. Fernandes met and spoke briefly with those gathered, but declined to comment further on the January termination of Banks.

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One Response to “Locals protest firing at Antioch College’s Wellness Center”

  1. Don Hubschman says:

    So it’s now acceptable to question the motivations of female accusers? Not picking sides here. It just wasn’t that long ago that that was considered the height of patriarchal boorishness. #believesomewomen

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