Friday, May 15, 2015

Jay Perman, President of University of Maryland at Baltimore Was at the Center of Discrimination Investigation by NAACP

by Lachin Hatemi M.D.

Baltimore Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake has issued a citywide curfew after the death of Freddie Gray, whose spine was 80 percent severed while he was in police custody. Police says as many as 15 officers have been injured in northwest Baltimore in the early days of the protests, where a large group of juveniles converged and began to throw bricks and other items at officers. The officers were injured with broken bones and cuts, and one was unresponsive. Mainstream media reports conflict with eyewitness accounts, with eyewitnesses reporting that officers instigated the confrontation by cornering the teenagers and throwing bricks at them.

While Baltimore is struggling with riots, the leader of University of Maryland is being asked to answer questions about his dark past at the University of Kentucky. Dr. Jay Perman is currently the president of the University of Maryland at Baltimore. Before coming to the University of Maryland, he was the dean of the University of Kentucky’s medical school where he was at the center of a discrimination investigation spearheaded by the NAACP.

Dr. Jay Perman’s tenure was marked with poor enrollment and retention of Black students at the University of Kentucky Medical School. A significant number of Black medical students have either been dismissed or held back a year or two in their education over the last decade under Perman’s leadership. The exodus of Black students was so great that it could not be explained simply by one individual student’s failures.

Under Dr. Perman’s leadership, countless Black medical students had to end their dreams to become physicians. Dr. Perman was never reluctant to use his power and authority to misrepresent student records and punish students by denying access to grades.

Dr. Permans track record got the attention of the local NAACP Branch which repeatedly requested the statistical data about minority student enrollment at UK College of Medicine. Efforts to access minority student enrollment data were denied by UK Administration for more than a year.

Jay Perman’s track record is worrisome, and he has persistently tried to hide from the general public for years. Today we need to ask if Jay Perman is the right person to lead one of the Leading institutions of higher learning in Baltimore.

Lachin Hatemi is a physician and a civil rights activist based in Lexington, Kentucky. Hatemi is also the founder and partner in consulting firm, Hatemi & Wallace Consulting. You can reach him at

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