Chancellor Debra Saunders-White
North Carolina Central University
Office of the Chancellor
Durham, North Carolina 27707
Re: Coach Henry Frazier III – Appeal of His Termination as Head Football Coach from North Carolina Central University
Dear Chancellor Saunders-White:
North Carolina Central University (NCCU) seems to pride itself on its history beginning in the early 1900s to educate primarily students of all races, color, class or nationality. It has a storied history involving civil rights. This week commemorates the 50th anniversary of the March on Washington which sought justice, due process and civil rights for all men and women in this country regardless of race, wealth or social class. It is, therefore, ironic that NCCU would appear to violate basic tenents of the civil rights movement during this significant and momentous week by firing its Head Football Coach Henry Frazier III as a result of unproven allegations involving a personal matter.
Please accept this letter on behalf of Coach Henry Frazier III (Frazier) appealing his termination dated August 22, 2013, from the Director of Athletics Ingrid Wicker-McCree (Wicker-McCree). In that termination letter, NCCU terminated Head Football Coach Frazier’s employment effective immediately, purportedly for the violation of Section 3.1 of the Employment Agreement between NCCU and Frazier. The letter of termination recites all seven clauses that could be applicable to any termination of which six, despite their recitation, were completely irrelevant. Instead, Wicker-McCree discharged Frazier for “behavior that has brought public disrespect, contempt and ridicule upon the University, the Department of Intercollegiate Athletics and the football program.” It further goes on to recite the fact that Wicker-McCree determined that Frazier’s conduct was “inconsistent with the expectation of high ethical standards that apply to our entire campus community and in particular our campus leadership.” She continues this apparent public relations speech by saying “It is imperative that you understand that your actions jeopardize what is our University’s top priority – the education and development of our students.” It appears that the latter recitations somehow attempt to justify a termination that was in violation of the actual wording of Section 3.1 of the contract between the parties. Unfortunately for NCCU, these recitations are irrelevant to the issue of any contract violation. In fact, as you will see from this appeal, Frazier contends that NCCU has intentionally, egregiously and materially violated its duties to him under the contract.
The contract specifically provides detailed terms under which Frazier could be terminated. The only term relevant, according to the University’s own admission, is Subparagraph 4. That subparagraph was negotiated between the parties and written by the University. However, for the purposes of this appeal letter, please note that the section that NCCU claims applies has the specific wording that “Any discipline under this subsection shall not violate the due process rights of Coach to defend himself against false and/or malicious prosecution or accusations …” This clause is extremely important especially in light of the University’s statements to the media which said to reporter John McCann of the Herald Sun on August 22, 2013, which stated “We just decided that it’s best to move in a different direction and move on,” Wicker-McCree said. “We’re not here to say whether he’s guilty or innocent. That’s for the legal system to decide. We just wish the best for Coach Frazier and his family; that they move past these issues.” The reason why this quote becomes extremely important is that the contract does, in fact, defer to the legal system to decide guilt or innocence. That is why the discipline had to wait for legal process to take its course under the specific clause which I again repeat “Any discipline under this subsection shall not violate the due process rights of Coach to defend himself against false and/or malicious prosecution or accusations …” This second sentence modifies the first sentence and therefore, limits the unilateral ability of NCCU to terminate Frazier.
Henry Frazier III has maintained his innocence on these charges. But apparently his maintaining of his innocence was irrelevant in the quick determination made by representatives of NCCU. As your Director of Athletics is very aware, Frazier specifically asked bring legal representation to the meeting to discuss his suspension. That request was improperly denied on the basis that legal representation was not allowed at that stage. Attached please find a screen shot of a text between Ingrid Wicker-McCree and Frazier which states “we do not involve legal representation during employment related discussions.”
NCCU, through Wicker-McCree, failed to even concern itself with the fact that legal representation would have explained why Frazier is not guilty of the charges, why he is contending that the charges are malicious and false and therefore, why Section 3.1.4 of the contract requires the University to wait until a legal determination on guilt or innocence has been made. Moreover, the University should not have been giving legal advice to Frazier, which he materially relied on to his detriment, when the University clearly has been guilty of bad faith by making such a determination and only going through the motions to pretend to want to hear Frazier’s explanation.
Frazier hereby requests that the termination be rescinded. We will wait to hear from you.
Yours very truly,
LAW OFFICE OF LINDA KENNEY BADEN
Linda Kenney Baden, Esq.