HBCU 20×20, the largest job and internship network connecting students and graduates of HBCUs, said it is canceling its long-term partnership with Google after a former employee there claimed the tech giant purposely overlooked students from Historically Black College and Universities as potential staff.
In a series of tweets, April Christina Curley, a diversity recruiter for Google from 2014 until September, said she continually urged the hiring of Black HBCU engineering students at Google, only to get major pushback.
“’I routinely called out shady recruitment practices such as ‘screening out’ resumes of students with ‘unfamiliar’ school/university names,” Curley said. Curley said she increased Black engineering hiring from HBCUs at Google by over 300 percent during her time there. However, she “experienced active abuse and retaliation from several managers” who she said took issue with her diversity efforts.
Nicole Tinson, who founded HBCU 20×20 in 2017, said in a tweet, “We refuse to partner with a company that continues to oust/disrespect Black people. Black people deserve better, and it’s clear Google has not find the need to do better. We do not encourage working or interning at Google.”
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HBCU20x20 plans to share a list of “Companies Who Get It Right,” Tinson said. “I don’t believe in the mistreatment of Black people in any setting, especially the workforce, and hopefully our list will shed light on the companies who are intentional about doing good.”
There was plenty of response on Twitter.
“Well… Black people could refrain from using Google Search engine (HARD TO DO) and Google products like their home products)- and maybe use suites like Microsoft 360. The only way Google will pay attention (sadly) is if they lose money. And Black people are a strong market,” one tweeted.
There were calls for other Black tech organizations to follow HBCU 20×20’s lead. “I hope #BlackTechTwitter sees this. Remember career advancement or appreciation does not mean humiliation and abuse has to be tolerated or accepted,” a Twitter user said.
A Google spokesperson responded to Curley’s experiences, telling The Street, “We don’t agree with the way April describes her departure, but it’s not appropriate for us to provide a commentary about her claims.”
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Google claims that it hired employees from 15 HCBUs in 2019, according to its “Google Diversity Annual Report 2020.”
Artificial intelligence researcher Timnit Gebru was also recently fired from Google. She says it was because she complained about the company in an email to colleagues and refused to retract a research paper that showed artificial intelligence discriminates against darker-skinned people.