Manhasset library investigation may wrap up next week

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An investigation into a library director making comments perceived as racially insensitive at a violin recital may most likely wrap up next week, a Manhasset Public Library representative said. (Photo courtesy of The Island Now archives)

An investigation into an incident at the Manhasset Public Library may be completed next week, according to a representative of the library.

Lisa Hendrickson of the Port Washington-based public relations firm LCH Communications, which represents the library, said in a phone call that the library’s Board of Trustees hired a lawyer to look into accusations that library Director Margaret Gough made comments perceived as racially insensitive at a Dec. 14 violin recital presented in the library’s community room.

“The lawyer has more interviews to do, but the investigation will most likely be finished by next week, and its findings presented shortly thereafter,” Hendrickson said.

Violinist Roslyn Huang, who held the recital for her music group, the Long Island Camerata, said that parents of her students told her that Gough had called the students, many of whom were of Asian descent, “foreigners.” Huang also said that Gough complained about the catering, provided by Pearl East Restaurant, and threatened to fine her $20,000 for water spilled on a carpet.

Huang further said that two days later, Gough canceled the Camerata’s contract for a similar recital in the spring. A petition was later created called “Eradicate Racism from the Manhasset Public Library,” which has received nearly 800 signatures.

Gough called the allegations “horrendous, deeply hurtful, and completely unfounded” in a statement last week and also said that “legal counsel is requesting meetings with all those involved to determine if the facts in this matter have merit or are meritless.”

The petition’s writer, a parent of one of the students in the orchestra, wrote in an update that he hoped the library’s board would be “fair and thorough in their investigation.”

“I hope appropriate actions will be taken to ensure that our library maintains an all-inclusive environment,” the petitioner wrote. “If actions need to be taken, I am sure there are many qualified community and library leaders who can make that decision.”

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