Denver school board votes to censure Tay Anderson following report investigating allegations

Anderson’s colleagues voted 6-1 to publically condemn his behavior.
3 min. read
Denver school board member Tay Anderson outside Denver Public School headquarters on Friday, Sept. 17, 2021. (Esteban L. Hernandez/Denverite)

Denver School Board member Tay Anderson said on Friday he would not resign in the face of a censure vote by the Denver Public Schools Board of Education, which took place days after the district released an independent report showing the most serious sexual allegations made against him were unsubstantiated.

While the report found allegations of sexual assault against Anderson were unsubstantiated, Anderson's peers on the school board still found some of the other findings in the report troubling enough to censure him, essentially publicly condemning his behavior. The board cannot remove a board member.

Before Friday's vote, Anderson was joined by local civil rights advocates and clergy during a press conference outside Denver Public Schools' headquarters downtown. They all criticized the censure vote, including Anderson himself, who suggested the move was rushed.

"We've had segregationists on our school board, and they've never been censured for their behavior or any of their conduct wanting to separate children based on race," Anderson said.

Unless you were right in front of him, it was tough to make out some of Anderson's words. He had to talk over the voice of Jeanna Hoch, a DPS parent who used a megaphone to call for him to resign before Friday's vote. She was joined by a few other protesters who were also calling on the school board member to quit.

At the press conference, Anderson was surrounded by supporters, including Bishop Jerry Demmer of the Greater Metro Denver Ministerial Alliance, and Rev. Tony D. Henderson, of the Spottswood AME Zion Church, who read a letter on behalf of the NAACP's Colorado state chapter in support of Anderson.

Board members voted 6-1 to censure Anderson about an hour after the press conference; he was the lone no vote. The remaining members, Jennifer Bacon, Scott Baldermann, Angela Cobián, Rev. Bradley Laurvick, Carrie Olson and Barbara O'Brien, all voted to censure Anderson.

Though the report found most of the most serious allegations against Anderson were unsubstantiated, other allegations involving Anderson making "unwelcome sexual comments and advances" toward members of a youth anti-gun violence group were substantiated, according to the report. The report additionally said Anderson had "flirtatious social media contact" with a 16-year-old Denver Public Schools student while he was a board member.

"My motion and vote for censure are precisely that: a condemnation of Director Anderson's unwelcoming sexual comments and advances," Cobián said on Friday, before voting in support of the censure.

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