State agency to hold hearing on Grandview Golf Course discrimination complaint

Sandra Thompson, right, speaks alongside Sandra Harrison, both golfers and members of a group of local women known as Sisters in the Fairway, during an interview with The Associated Press, Tuesday April 24, 2018 in York, Pa. Officials at the Grandview Golf Club in York called police on the group Saturday, accusing them of playing too slowly and holding up others behind them. On Sunday club co-owner JJ Chronister told the York Daily Record she called the women personally to "sincerely apologize." (AP Photo/Jacqueline Larma)

The state Human Relations Commission will investigate five black women's claims of discrimination at a York County golf course last month.

The agency announced Thursday, May 24, that a hearing "related to the ongoing issues of racial tension" stemming from the incident at Grandview Golf Course in Dover Township will be held in York County.

The date and location of the hearing has not been announced, the Human Relations Commission stated in a news release.

Commission Executive Director Chad Dion Lassiter pointed to a statute in the state's Human Relations Act, which gives the commission authority for hearings related to racial problems.

"The purpose of the hearing shall be to resolve the problem promptly," the statute reads.

According to the statute, the hearing involves gathering facts from "all the interested parties" and making necessary recommendations which, if not accepted within a reasonable time, may warrant a complaint from the commission.

The incident: The five black women, including York County's NAACP chapter president Sandra Thompson, alleged racial and gender discrimination after they were confronted April 21 by Grandview Golf Course management for allegedly playing too slowly.

More:Philly senator calls for investigation into York golf course incident

More:National support for black women asked to leave York County golf course

A group of five black women (left to right: Carolyn Dow, Sandra Harrison, Karen Crosby, Sandra Thompson and Myneca Ojo) feel they were discriminated against by Grandview Golf Club after police were called to the Dover Township club Saturday, April 21 over a supposed dispute involving pace of play. (Photo courtesy of Myneca Ojo)

The group had started about an hour after their scheduled tee time because of a frost delay, and Thompson said it seemed as though owner — and former county commissioner — Steve Chronister was trying to blame them for the club's backlog when he asked them to leave.

More:Black women, including York NAACP head, allege discrimination at Grandview Golf Club

They were the only black female group on the course at the time.

Three members of the group left after nine holes because of the "wrongful treatment," according to a Facebook post by Thompson, but the two remaining were confronted a second time.

Part of the exchange was captured on video, in which Jordan Chronister, Steve Chronister's son and co-owner of the club, can be heard telling the women to remove themselves from the premises.

Police were called to the course twice that day to address the issue but did not interact with the women until the second time, Northern York County Regional Police Chief Mark Bentzel said.

More:Chief: Police were called to Grandview Golf Course twice

More:EDITORIAL: We need to have a conversation after Grandview incident

Grandview apologized for the incident in a Facebook post Sunday, April 22, and co-owner JJ Chronister also reached out to the women to apologize.

"Please know that we are taking this issue very seriously," the post reads.

According to the club's scorecard rules, 18-hole rounds must be completed in four hours and 15 minutes, and the group also took an extended break after the ninth hole, JJ Chronister told The York Dispatch.

But Thompson noted in her Facebook post that they finished the front nine in about two hours, and the group behind them also took an extended break after the ninth hole.

State Sen. Vincent Hughes, D-Philadelphia and Montgomery counties, sent a letter to the interim chairman of the state Human Relations Commission requesting an investigation of the incident.