College admin on unpaid leave for not censoring bias incident description
A California community college placed a department head on unpaid leave after she discussed an incident in which a racial slur was used.
During a discussion about racial issues in a Nov. 14 gender equity workgroup, Santa Barbara City College Vice President of Business Services Lyndsay Maas repeated a story that a black student had previously told her, according to CalCoastNews.com. A second student had allegedly called the black student the n-word.
"That word should never be used in any context as it only serves to perpetuate racism, and I was complicit"
When describing the incident, in an effort to contribute to the discussion about gender and racial issues on campus, Maas uttered the actual n-word rather than a censored version.
Santa Barbara Community College placed Maas on unpaid leave five days later as punishment for her language. The administrator then issued an apology, promising to further “educate” herself by committing to take four “anti-racism” courses.
“That word should never be used in any context as it only serves to perpetuate racism, and I was complicit,” she said. “I recognize that I need to reflect on what took place and do thoughtful, informed work to educate myself. I will spend my future at SBCC more aware of how words can cause pain. Additionally, I will continue to be a part of the changes needed to help battle on campus racism.”
Campus President Dr. Anthony Beebe shared Maas’ apology in a campus-wide email, accompanied by his own statement.
"I want to make it absolutely clear that use of derogatory, racist language is absolutely unacceptable and contrary to our College’s Mission, Vision, and Core Values. It has no place on our campus. That word should never, ever be used, regardless of the reason or context,” Beebe wrote, relaying Maas' unpaid leave status.
[RELATED: Prof. critical of court system suspended for use of N-word]
"Santa Barbara City College is not unaffected by the history and power dynamics that support racism and other forms of discrimination,” Beebe continued. "As an institution of learning, we must hold ourselves and each other accountable and commit to the necessary work to address and root out racism and inequity on our campus."
"Racism and inequality are painful aspects of our history and remain in our environment. We must change that. As difficult as this work may be, it must continue. The work requires all of us, and I welcome all voices, from throughout campus, to be part of making this institutional change."
Campus Reform reached out to Maas and Santa Barbara City College for comment but did not receive a response in time for publication.
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