William Smith, director of the college's five-year-old Center for Diversity, told The Boston Globe that accusations of racism leveled at the school by the local chapter of the NAACP and an investigation by the Massachusetts Commission Against Discrimination is hampering the recruitment of minority academics.
Smith told the Globe he is often nervous when he talks to potential recruits.
"They say, 'What happened?' I say, 'It's growing pains.' It's an embarrassment.'' he said, adding that the 3,200-student college will actively pursue minority faculty who are already tenured at other institutions and bring them to the private school in clusters so they can help create a support system.
The Globe reported that Emerson College has granted tenure to just three African-American professors, two of whom had to sue for the distinction, while last year two more black scholars up for tenure were denied by school administrators.