White staffer pretended to lynch Black colleague during diversity training
Smith Moore and Mitchell Beare (WMU/Facebook)

A Black worker claims a white coworker pretended to lynch him during diversity training at Western Michigan University.


Smith Moore, who serves as director of event services and catering at the university, accused the university in a new lawsuit of fostering a racially hostile working environment, reported MLive.

The suit claims Mitchell Beare, then WMU's assistant director of operations, came up behind Moore at an August 2017 diversity and inclusion meeting and looped a rope into the shape of a noose behind him.

"No, you can't do that!" Moore heard shocked colleagues say, according to the suit.

WMU concluded in October 2017 after an investigation that Beare had violated the university's non-discrimination policy, but the white administrator had already retired with benefits a month earlier.

Moore, who started working at the university in 2004 as a catering manager and was promoted eight years later, submitted a written complaint in spring 2016 that Beare racially profiled Black students and made derogatory comments.

The suit claims Beare requested law enforcement at events hosted by Black students, but not for events hosted by white students, and tried to "sabotage" those events by intentionally providing inadequate staffing.

“Not my circus, not my monkeys,” Beare told Moore when he confronted him about the inadequacies, according to the suit.

Colleagues repeatedly complained about Beare's behavior and unsuccessfully tried to get him to participate in diversity training, and the suit claims he acted in a racist fashion once he finally complied.