Richard Cohen, Longtime President of Southern Poverty Law Center, Announces Resignation

The longtime president of the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) announced his resignation on Friday amid allegations of staff mistreatment and discrimination at the organization.

“Whatever problems exist at the SPLC happened on my watch, so I take responsibility for them,” Richard Cohen, who has worked at the group since 1986, wrote in an email to employees Friday, according to the Los Angeles Times.

The move comes a week after the civil rights advocacy organization fired its co-founder and chief litigator, Morris Dees, who was at the center of the controversy. Dees was removed for undisclosed misconduct.

Cohen urged employees to not rush to judgement about the organization’s work culture until an investigation — led by the board-appointed Tina Tchen, former first lady Michelle Obama’s chief of staff — was completed.

Dees was at the center of scrutiny over alleged discriminatory treatment involving black employees at the organization, according to a recent report in the Montgomery Advertiser, which cited a series it did in the 1990s.

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SOURCE: The Hill, John Bowden