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Boston Club Will Pay Discrimination Fine

By Caroline M. McKay, Crimson Staff Writer

A Boston club will pay a fee totalling $28,500 to four organizations supporting higher education for black students as part of a settlement in a complaint of discrimination against black Harvard and Yale graduate students and alumni.

On Nov. 20, 2011, Cure Lounge shut down a party for black Harvard and Yale students and alumni in fear that the party was attracting “the wrong crowd,” including “local gang bangers,” inciting allegations of racism by the club management against the party guests.

The Attorney General’s office, which filed a suit against Cure with the Massachusetts Commission against Discrimination (MCAD), announced on Tuesday the four recipients of the $28,500 fine on the club: Freedom House, Cambridge College, Bottom Line Inc., and the United Negro College Fund.

This February, Cure Lounge agreed to apologize to the community and event attendees, send their employees to anti-discrimination workshops, and pay the fine—the benefactors of which were not yet decided at the time.

On the night of the incident, club management told patrons to leave the venue 30 minutes after they had opened the doors.

Management gave patrons a variety of reasons, ranging from “technical difficulties” to “gang activity” to fire code issues.

Cure’s head of security Sherif Hashem gave event organizers a different reason, according to the complaint filed by Coakley and MCAD.

“It’ll be the weed smoking brothers from the other side of Massachusetts Avenue who will want to come in if they see beautiful black women in line, and it will be a problem if we try to turn them away,” Hashem said on the night of the incident.

Club management did not call police, and attendees reported not seeing any suspicious persons in the crowd.

Coakley said she hopes that this occurrence of discrimination will result in constructive change in the future.

“While we cannot change the actions of Cure Lounge the night of the incident, I am pleased that something positive has resulted from our settlement and that we are able to award these grants to help African-American students fulfill their academic ambitions,” Coakley said in a statement. “This funding will help ensure that these young adults have the tools to prepare and apply for higher education and allow them to pursue a path to personal growth and academic achievement.”

—Staff writer Caroline M. McKay can be reached at carolinemckay@college.

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