Felician University: Staffer didn't send email disparaging black students

A private Roman Catholic university in Bergen County has determined its housing director did not send an email that disparaged black students.

Felician University spokeswoman Susan Bernarducci says that an investigation found Laura Pierotti was not "the originator of the email" sent under her name in August.

An independent investigator looked into the incident and found that the address from which the email originated did not match any of the hardware owned or used by Pierotti.

Bernarducci says the university is still trying to determine who sent the email, which said in part that black students had bad attitudes.

"The president and administration at Felician University take this incident very seriously. They would like to reiterate that diversity and tolerance are at the very core of the mission of the University," Bernarducci said in a statement.

The email went to students, faculty, staff and some alumni. University president Anne Prisco said at the time that Pierotti's account appeared to have been compromised by someone who was trying to "disparage her and the university."

About 2,200 students attend Felician, which has campuses in Rutherford and Lodi. Roughly 20 percent are black.

The Associated Press wire services contributed to this report.

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