Despite the possibility of legal action, Essex County College in Newark, New Jersey defends its termination of a Black professor who sparked controversy for her racial comments on Fox News, the New York Daily News reports.
The adjunct communications professor, Lisa Durden, appeared June 6 on Fox’s “Tucker Carlson Tonight.” She defended a Black Lives Matter group’s decision to host a Blacks-only Memorial Day celebration.
Durden told Tucker Carlson that “ You White people are angry because you couldn’t use your White privilege card to get invited to the Black Lives Matter’s all-black Memorial Day Celebration.” She added that Whites have a long history of excluding African-Americans, for example, from TV shows and the Academy Awards.
Durden did not link herself to the college during the interview. Nevertheless, Essex County College president, Anthony Munroe, said the school issued a paid six-day suspension to Durden and later fired her, NJ.com reported.
In a statement on Friday, Munroe said the community college received an avalanche of complaints from the school’s community, prospective students and their parents.
“I fully believe that institutions of higher learning must provide a safe space for students… The character of this institution mandates that we embrace diversity, inclusion, and unity. Racism cannot be fought with more racism,” he stated, according to NJ.com.
Durden’s attorney, Leslie Farber, told The Daily News that she and her client are considering legal action. Farber said the college violated Durden’s constitutional free speech rights, as well as New Jersey public policy.
The professor told NJ.com that she’s received support from staff members and students. Durden expected the administration to back her because the school is a “Black and Brown college,” located in a “Black and Brown city.”
She added: “It should be a safe place for me. I thought when I came home from war, I would be safe.”