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Grandview responds; panel report expected in 60 days

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The women affected by alleged racial discrimination at Grandview Golf Club in York County embrace following the close of Friday's hearing.
The women affected by alleged racial discrimination at Grandview Golf Club in York County embrace following the close of Friday's hearing. - (Photo / )

In a letter sent last week to the Pennsylvania Human Relations Commission, management at Grandview Golf Club said it was not motivated by race or gender during an incident earlier this year in which the police were called on five black women golfers.

The letter, posted by WPMT-TV, was from York-based Benn Law Firm and addressed to Chad Lassiter, executive director of the commission.

It stated that the Dover Township golf club declined to participate in a recent commission hearing as the club was in pending litigation with several of the women alleging racial discrimination at the club.   

A fact-finding hearing conducted by the commission on the case concluded Friday. The commission plans to file a report within the next 60 days.
 
On April 21, management at Grandview called the police twice on Sandra Thompson, 50, Myneca Ojo, 56; Karen Crosby, 58; and sisters Sandra Harrison, 59, and Carolyn Dow, 56, asking them to leave the course. They were accused of playing golf too slowly.
 
According to the Grandview letter, the club said the first call to police was motivated by the women's "unequivocal verbal refusal to pick up their pace of play when asked to do so the first time." 
 
The club also alleged the women took an extensive break after finishing hole No. 9 and went to the parking lot to drink beverages, which is a violation of Grandview's policy. 
 
 

Several testified

Over the course of the two-day hearing last week, commissioners of the state agency listened to testimony from the women, another golfer, Jerry Higgins, as well as Dr. Walter Palmer, president and founder of the Palmer Foundation and a lecturer at the University of Pennsylvania. He provided expert analysis on implicit bias and race relations.

The five women golfers testified that they were targeted because of their race and gender. Higgins testified that the women were keeping normal pace on the course. 

Although representatives from Grandview did not testify at the hearing, former York County commissioner Steve Chronister, whose son Jordan is a co-owner of the golf course, was heard on 911 tapes during the hearings. Chronister and his son, Jordan, and other partners purchased the golf club last year.

Details also emerged at the hearing that a few of the women received phone calls shortly after the incident from a woman who identified herself as the golf club co-owner, J.J. Chronister, who offered up an apology and a request to meet that morning. Though they weren’t able to meet at that time, Chronister followed up with an email apology that stated she wanted to look into what happened so as to provide proper staff and ownership training, Ojo said.

Grandview backtracked from that apology in a formal statement provided to the York Daily Record. 

In the letter addressed to Lassiter, Grandview said that initially they felt the apology was well-received until videos of the incident appeared on social media. The club also said in that letter that it had hired a business consultant who will offer inclusive education.

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Emily Thurlow

Emily Thurlow

​Emily Thurlow covers York County​ for the Central Penn Business Journal. Have a tip? Drop her a line at ethurlow@cpbj.com. Follow her on Twitter @localloislane.

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