Dr. Latchin Hatemi is an intriguing character. He finished at The University of Kentucky School of Medicine, and was a top student during his time there. But during his years of study, Dr. Hatemi noticed a couple of disturbing trends. First, it seemed that nearly every black student in his class was either kicked out of the program or held back for poor performance. He thought that perhaps it was due to chance, a lack of work ethic or poor qualifications, but he eventually concluded that the pattern was indicative of something more sinister.
The second thing Dr. Hatemi says he noticed was that African American medical students seemed to be getting pushed out of the loop altogether, replaced by students from foreign countries. Although Dr. Hatemi is from Turkey, many of the African American students affected were his friends. This inspired him to speak up and do something about the perceived disparities.
Dr. Hatemi claims that once he decided to speak up about what he believed to be discrimination, he was labeled as a trouble maker. He suddenly noticed a decline in his annual reviews and found himself being chastised by those who felt that he needed to keep his mouth shut. But in spite of the backlash, Dr. Hatemi has continued his fight, even after graduation, challenging the medical school to release records on the numbers of minorities students admitted and retained, especially African Americans.
Dr. Hatemi says that the university is fighting him every step of the way, refusing to release critical information that would publicize its track record when it comes to African American students. According to Dr. Hatemi, this is part of the smoking gun which proves that the university has something to hide. He has gotten the support of the NAACP on the matter, as well as many prominent individuals in the state of Kentucky and across the nation. He is determined to continue the fight and won’t give up until justice is served.
In a state that has an undenial history of racism and serious problems in the recruitment and retention of minority faculty and students, Dr. Hatemi’s work is fresh air for those who’ve grown weary of seeing themselves excluded from opportunity.
An interview with Dr. Hatemi is below:
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