CARSON — Professor and author Anthony Samad is still scheduled to begin his term as executive director of the Mervyn M. Dymally African American Political & Economic Institute at Cal State Dominguez Hills in February despite a concerted effort by some civil rights activists to have Samad removed from the position before he began.
University President Willie Hagan announced Samad’s appointment in a press release Dec. 13, citing Samad’s background as an educator, a former president of the Los Angels chapter of the NAACP and his position as host and managing director of Urban Issues Forum of Greater Los Angeles since 1999.
But Vincent L. Burr, president of the Carson-Torrance branch of the NAACP, said Hagan should withdraw his appointment of Samad due to Samad’s history of sexual harassment allegations.
“There is no place in civil society or the workplace for individuals like Mr. Samad, who uses his position(s) of power to intimidate anyone, specifically women, through sexual provocation,” a statement released by Burr last month said.
“It is my hope that your good conscious serves as your guide and that your spirit help determine that you conclude that a different decision can and must be made regarding a new candidate for this position,” Burr added.
In 2011, a woman filed charges against Samad when he served as group leader of 100 Black Men. The charges were settled out of court in 2015 with no admission of guilt by Samad.
Samad elected not to speak on the record about the controversy over his appointment.
University officials say they have conducted a legal investigation and did not deem the prior allegations against Samad as a justified reasoning to rescind his position.
“The university’s commissioned background check on Mr. Samad was conducted in accordance with state law and did not yield information on a conviction more than 27 years ago, or any alleged sexual misconduct claims,” Hagan said in a statement after the allegations against Samad surfaced.
The longtime Los Angeles activist and community leader spent several years as college professor at East Los Angeles College and was the former leader of the 100 Black Men of Los Angeles. He is a published author and has been a community activist in the Los Angeles area for years.
“Based on his extensive experience in academia, many stellar years of community service and activism in the nonprofit and private sectors, and the fact that he came highly recommended by prominent members of the community and state and federal government, Mr. Samad stood out from the other candidates as the best choice to lead the Dymally Institute,” Hagan’s statement added.
“Nevertheless, the allegations brought to the university’s attention were disturbing, and a decision was made to have them further investigated. Our research turned up the allegations, but found no judgments against Mr. Samad substantiating them.”
Mervyn Dymally was a trail-blazing politician in California. He served in the state Assembly from 1963-66 and in the state Senate from 1967-75. In 1975, he became the first African-American elected to statewide office when he was elected lieutenant governor, a post he held for four years.
In 1981 he was elected to Congress, serving six terms as a South Los Angeles representative. He later spent three more terms in the state Assembly.
Dymally’s daughter, Lynn Dymally, was involved in the final round of the selection process. She spoke out about the decisions made by the college and despite the history of allegations, she believes that Samad is the best candidate for the position.
“I, more than anyone else, would know my father’s wishes and I dare say he is not turning over in his grave at the appointment of Dr. Samad,” she said. “I think that he’s an excellent selection and I give him my full support.”
Dymally also said she believes that the university addressed the situation properly by conducting a formalized search following the letter received from the NAACP chapter.
“I think they did their due diligence,” Dymally said. “They investigated the matter and the legal team looked into it. President Hagan and CSU system feel comfortable that Dr. Samad is a credible individual to serve as the executive director.