NJ college fires prof for insensitive remarks on Fox News
- Prof. Lisa Durden made the racial remarks earlier this month.
- "Racism cannot be fought with more racism," Essex County College's president said in a statement.
Essex County College has fired a professor who publicly defended a Black Lives Matter Memorial Day event during an appearance on Fox News in early June.
During an interview on “Tucker Carlson Tonight,” Professor Lisa Durden endorsed the event, which was held exclusively for black people, telling the news host that white people were upset because they could not use their “white privilege card” to attend.
“Boo hoo hoo. You white people are angry because you couldn’t use your white privilege card,” she told Carlson.
According to a report by The Associated Press, Durden was suspended shortly after the show aired on June 6 and officially ousted on Friday.
Essex County College President Anthony Munroe reiterated that the institution “supports and affirms the right of free speech,” but stressed that Durden’s remarks “required our immediate review into what seemed to have become a very contentious and divisive issue.”
“I fully believe that institutions of higher learning must provide a safe space for students to explore, discuss and debate, not only academic philosophies, but the harder issues related to living harmoniously and growing together in our communities and as a country,” Munroe said in a statement, as reported by AP.
“The character of this institution mandates that we embrace diversity, inclusion, and unity. Racism cannot be fought with more racism,” Munroe added.
In an interview with NJ.com on Friday, Durden compared her experience to a rape victim who is blamed for the rape and said that the college “should be a safe place for me."
Durden's lawyer, Leslie Farber, said that the firing violated the Durden’s right to free speech and that the pair is considering a possible lawsuit against the college.
"I believe their first suspending and then firing her was directly because of her appearing on the Tucker Carlson TV show, and is a violation of her federal and state constitutional rights to free speech," Farber told NJ.com.
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