School Head Seeks Pharmacy's Removal From Program After Black Student Fired
Aug. 14, 1987
ATHENS, Ga. (AP) _ The University of Georgia's president instructed the College of Pharmacy on Thursday to end the school's relationship with a pharmacy that fired a student because she was black.
Tommie Faye Bateman, a final-year student in the College of Pharmacy, was dismissed by the owners of the Cox-Ewing Northside Pharmacy in Tifton, in southwest Georgia, after only one day on the job in a school training program.
Co-owner Robert F. Cox said he feared negative customer reaction because of Ms. Bateman's race.
On Thursday, Cox's partner, John Ewing, said he and Cox made a mistake in dismissing the traineee. He said, ''We handled it wrong.''
''Discriminatory behavior of any kind is totally unacceptable to any program associated with the University of Georgia,'' school President Charles B. Knapp said in a statement issued Thursday.
Knapp said he had asked Pharmacy Dean Howard Answel to notify Cox-Ewing that it was being permanently removed from the program, in which pharmacy students work free as part of graduation requirements.
Ms. Bateman, 22, has been reassigned to a pharmacy in her hometown of Ashburn.
She said she was informed of her firing Tuesday by John Ewing, Cox's partner.
''Mr. Ewing said his partner, Mr. Cox, would have a hard time working with a black person,'' she said. ''And he said Mr. Cox felt they would lose customers if I were to stay there. He added that even losing one customer was not worth it.
''I thought we were over that,'' she added. ''I really didn't believe that I would ever have to deal with that myself.''
Cox said customers had complained about Ms. Bateman's presence.
''It's hard for the small independent businesses to survive. You bend to what your customers say,'' he said Wednesday
''I told the university that my children go to school with blacks and my wife teaches both blacks and whites,'' he said. ''We have no problem with that. But ... I didn't want an uncomfortable situation to arise with the customers.''