“A Failure To Be Anti-Racist”: Faculty Denounce Cypress College Over Suspension Of Professor In Anti-Police Diatribe

We recently discussed the controversy at Cypress College involving a professor becoming irate after student, Braden Ellis, stated that he felt police officers are heroes in our society. The College later put the teacher on leave. Now the faculty union at Cypress College has denounced the school for “a failure to be anti-racist” in its treatment of the teacher. I agree that a professor should not be fired or even suspended over such an incident, though the issue for me is academic freedom. However, there is a notable omission in the statement from Christie Diep, president of United Faculty of the North Orange County Community College District, and Mohammad M. Abdel Haq, its lead negotiator: a criticism of the professor for her overtly hostile and biased treatment of the student. 

We previously discussed how the professor’s comments not only seemed strikingly intemperate but inaccurate. The professor insists (wrongly) that the police were created to track down runaway slaves. There may be places where the first official law enforcement bodies were created for such a purpose, but most police departments were obviously not created for such a purpose.

The discussion focused on the Nickelodeon show Paw Patrol, which faced criticism because it showed police in a positive light. In the video, one student agrees that maybe police should not be included as heroes in a children’s show — a view clearly favored by the professor who said that she would never call police if she were in trouble because “my life’s more in danger in their presence… I wouldn’t call anybody.”

The now viral video generated widespread criticism, though also some praise for the professor.

 

The letter from the United Faculty ignores the free speech rights of the student as well as the raw intolerance shown by the professor. Those concerns do not appear to merit even a mention in the letter. Instead, the statement declared that the College has endangered faculty and fueled attacks by “White supremacist organizations, news outlets, and individuals.”  The statement notes that classes were cancelled and professors (confused with the unnamed professor in the video) received angry or threatening messages:

This harm, undoubtedly, has a disproportionate impact on BIPOC faculty and other minorities, as they are more likely to become targets of White supremacist organizations, news outlets, and individuals. The failure to issue a clear and strong statement of support for faculty under the existing circumstances is a failure to be anti-racist. It is a failure to protect our most vulnerable faculty.

My concern is over academic freedom.  This professor, in my view, was clearly wrong in her response to this student and the intolerant atmosphere of her class toward his conservative viewpoints. However, firing a professor over such an incident chills the values of academic freedom that are the foundation for higher education.

However, there is also countervailing interests of the student which the faculty statement entirely ignores. This professor was rightfully condemned for her response and the statement should have expressed concern over the failure to afford this student, and other students, an environment that allows a free expression of ideas.

We should as faculty stand for academic freedom and free speech. If a professor is inviting discussion on issues like the cancel culture, she should be prepared to allow for a free flow of opposing or dissenting views. However, it is important for College to reaffirm the discretion of faculty in framing discussions and material. That is why any effective termination would be excessive, as opposed to addressing these concerns informally to ensure that the College remains a place for a diversity of opinion and viewpoints.

73 thoughts on ““A Failure To Be Anti-Racist”: Faculty Denounce Cypress College Over Suspension Of Professor In Anti-Police Diatribe”

  1. Professor turley:. The professor should have been fired for being “irate”! Teachers teach. They correct students, debate with students, and grade students. students are young. Students need to be nurtured and when they don’t grasp course material, graded accordingly

    Teachers don’t become irate when students offer a contrary point of view. The abused her position. She shouldnt be in a classroom

  2. “The professor insists (wrongly) that the police were created to track down runaway slaves. There may be places where the first official law enforcement bodies were created for such a purpose, but most police departments were obviously not created for such a purpose.”

    If by most Turley means by a slim margin, he may be correct. Police forces, depending on geography had three beginnings. They evolved from slave patrols in the South, they controlled immigrants on the North and Midwest, and they grew from private companies who hired them to protect their property. One could make the case they haven’t evolved much.

    1. We can always count on you to take isolated facts and turn them into universal lies.

        1. Still waiting for you to prove that any significant number of police departments were formed mostly for the purposes you describe. Not holding my breath.

      1. Prairie, you are completely right, but some people like to use outliers to generalize and prove an invalid point. For instance he could just have easily said that Seattle Washington is bright and sunny when in reality it is more frequently misty, rainy, and not very sunny. All that would mean is the observer visited Seattle for the three weeks at the beginning of August.

      2. The first police department was in Boston in 1838. Now before that there were groups performing similar functions. Private businesses employing thugs to protect the docks and their stores and slave patrols.

        1. Enigma,
          There were constables and sheriffs, though, too. And, the citizenry, absent a police force, were expected to track down criminals to bring them to trial. Someone was appointed to raise the hue and cry to alert people to their duty (and you’d get in trouble if you didn’t answer the call). Many of these sorts of positions were unpaid and were expected to be performed in addition to whatever else job the person had.

          https://www.bbc.co.uk/bitesize/guides/z9f4srd/revision/2

          I’d rather hire someone else to track down suspected criminals than have to participate in the search for anyone potentially violent.

          As part of local government, the citizenry should be responsible for charging their districts with ensuring the police force has a reasonably high bar for entry, appropriate training, and that they work to foster a good working relationship with those who have hired them to serve and protect.

          I agree that policemen need better training and that they should not be offered military surplus stuff at discount prices. Policemen should not resemble the military.

    2. Moot point.

      Freed slaves became illegal aliens in 1863 which required immediate deportation under the Naturalization Act of 1802.

      1. No. The importation of slaves into the United States ceased in 1808, 55 years prior to 1863. Most slaves came as adults and a very high percentage of people at that time did not live all that long anyways, so slaves in their 60s would have been rather unusual, I’d imagine. The people freed in 1863 were born almost entirely born here on American soil.

  3. Political Science 101
    ________________

    Americans vs. Illegal Alien Foreign Invader Hyphenates

    The subject is invasion and conquest, with racism as an incidental red-herring.
    _____________________________________________________________

    Naturalization Acts of 1790, 1795, 1798 and 1802

    United States Congress, “An act to establish an uniform Rule of Naturalization,” March 26, 1790

    Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America, in Congress assembled, That any Alien being a free white person, who shall have resided within the limits and under the jurisdiction of the United States for the term of two years, may be admitted to become a citizen thereof
    ________________________________________________________________________________

    Emancipation Proclamation of 1863

    Slaves are no longer property and must, therefore, be immediately deported as illegal aliens.
    _________________________________________________________________________

    Illegal immigration from Mexico, Central and South America has been extant fact for five decades.

    1. Earlier Resettlement Plans

      The view that America’s apparently intractable racial problem should be solved by removing Blacks from this country and resettling them elsewhere — “colonization” or “repatriation” — was not a new one. As early as 1714 a New Jersey man proposed sending Blacks to Africa. In 1777 a Virginia legislature committee, headed by future President Thomas Jefferson (himself a major slave owner), proposed a plan of gradual emancipation and resettlement of the state’s slaves. In 1815, an enterprising free Black from Massachusetts named Paul Cuffe transported, at his own expense, 38 free blacks to West Africa. His undertaking showed that at least some free Blacks were eager to resettle in a country of their own, and suggested what might be possible with public and even government support.7

      In December 1816, a group of distinguished Americans met in Washington, DC, to establish an organization to promote the cause of Black resettlement. The “American Colonization Society” soon won backing from some of the young nation’s most prominent citizens. Henry Clay, Francis Scott Key, John Randolph, Thomas Jefferson, James Madison, James Monroe, Bushrod Washington, Charles Carroll, Millard Fillmore, John Marshall, Roger B. Taney, Andrew Jackson, Daniel Webster, Stephen A. Douglas, and Abraham Lincoln were members. Clay presided at the group’s first meeting.8

      By 1832 the legislatures of more than a dozen states (at that time there were only 24), had given official approval to the Society, including at least three slave-holding states.11 Indiana’s legislature, for example, passed [a] joint resolution on January 16, 1850:12

      In January 1858, Missouri Congressman Francis P. Blair, Jr., introduced a resolution in the House of Representatives to set up a committee

      to inquire into the expediency of providing for the acquisition of territory either in the Central or South American states, to be colonized with colored persons from the United States who are now free, or who may hereafter become free, and who may be willing to settle in such territory as a dependency of the United States, with ample guarantees of their personal and political rights.

      Blair, quoting Thomas Jefferson, stated that Blacks could never be accepted as the equals of Whites, and, consequently, urged support for a dual policy of emancipation and deportation, similar to Spain’s expulsion of the Moors. Blair went on to argue that the territory acquired for the purpose would also serve as a bulwark against any further encroachment by England in the Central and South American regions.13

      – Robert Morgan

  4. She should be fired on Ethical grounds.
    It should be a violation of ethics to willfully teach false material.

    Her academic “freedom” doesnt allow her to deceive from a place of authority.

  5. For me, the key question I ask myself, as a citizen, a voter, and a taxpayer, is why do we continue to support higher education with tax exemptions, student loans, grants, and other forms of favorable treatment. Are they doing anything worthwhile for society? Just the opposite I would say.

  6. Faculty can go pound sand. Students tuition pays their salaries. BTW, what was his grade? What was her grading rubric? How did the other students fare? And how do you know she wasn’t discriminating against the student grade wise for his views? These are questions that also need answers. He is not likely the only one.

  7. When in conversation the easiest way to determine if the person your discussing a point of contention states without hesitation a nonsensical response, then you are dealing with a dimwitted imbecile. This professor (in this case I use that word with great reluctance) is a great example of the saying “Stupid is as Stupid does” or “Buy em books and buy em book and what do they do, Eat the Covers”. This professor and her acolytes are prognostic of the dark future for America and higher education.

  8. All that is good and well. But the first requirement of any educator is they tell the truth. That instructor lied knowingly or unknowingly about American history. She doesn’t need to be teaching kids. And I question her academic credentials.

  9. Academic freedom vs the ability to teach is a difficult distance to narrow. If the hiring process is based on PC then we will likely get an unqualified teaching staff that will feel unquestioned when magnifying the failures. Does academic freedom mean that we should permit the education process to fall to the lowest PC common denominator?

  10. She said she wouldn’t call anybody if she was being assaulted because she didn’t trust the police. What if her kids were in the house when someone was trying to break in? What if it was her daughter, dressed in pink that someone was trying to stab? She would just stand there as the knife was plunged into her daughters body, one, two, three times. She just wouldn’t understand why the assailant wouldn’t listen when she screamed for her to stop. Be nice! Be nice!
    .

  11. (music to tune of Randy Newman song called Short People)
    Dumb teachers got no reason.
    DUMB teachers got no reason!
    Dumb teachers got no reason to live!

    They got little bitty eyes…and itty bitty feet.
    Itty bitty voices that go beep beep peep!

    Don’t want no dumb teachers.
    Don’t want no dumb teachers!
    Don’t want no dumb teachers running round here!

  12. After and even before in the case of the first group the Civil War concluded the Northern Democrats as slave sellers and the Southern Democrats as slave owners joined together but had two like political goals even before joining.

    The Northern Democrats Black Laws covered the mandatory return of slaves starting before the war ended and continued afterwards. The Southern Democrats version after the Civil War ended Jim Crow Laws supported by both parties. When they joined that evolved into anti civil rights laws and anti equal rights and that continued up until the Clinton years when he made a half asna attempt. replacing it with continued draft laws.

    The combined democrat parties continued full tilt through the XXth century being anti civil rights and on the matter of slavery even after their strong pro war stance was repudiated by their party members supported keeping the draft laws on the books which is where they remain as of TODAY..

    The men for example have to sign up for the draft at 18 like it or not in order to get government jobs or college money the women have no such restriction. However if the men do not sign up they are subject to fines and jail time.

    I cannot find a time since 1776 when the under any name Democrats have not been anti civil rights and pro some form of involuntary servitude NEVER.

    And yet the Uncle Toms of the African American segment of society keep supporting them with a whipped look and and a Yassa Masta attitude.

    Explain that and don’t blame it on the the other party the main Constitutionalist segment about 40% of the vote don’t support it and the true Republicans don’t supprot it. Only he RINOs who are the right wing of the far. It’s a Socialist program and dogma and has no place in our Constitutional Republic neither do the socialists.

  13. It’s all academic anyway. Every freedom enumerated in those first 10 Amendments to our precious Constitution are going to be a thing of the past soon. Many now are on college campuses and workplaces across the nation. We, as a society, are sitting back and allowing this to happen. So familiar. So shameful.

  14. Abrasive woman, for sure.

    I know what she was saying, but she was saying it in entirely the wrong way. The student was more mature in how he was representing his point of view…, while the teacher was receiving what he had to say in a Tucker Carlson manner. That sort of impatience has the same effect no matter the ideology being expressed.

    EB

    1. Hey Anonymous, please show us where and when Tucker treated a STUDENT OF HIS in such a way. It must be nice to only have to battle straw men.

      1. Missed the point entirely, Hullbobby. But I’ve come to expect it of you. Carry on.

        EB

        1. There was a point to the Tucker Carlson reference? Please explain. Tucker is television opinion host, not a teacher/professor. When comparing apples to oranges please leave us a guide.

        2. Anonymous, it seems as though EVERYONE has “missed your point”. Funny how it is that when you make an asinine comment nobody “gets your point”.

    2. Anon Elvis Bugs favorite them song.
      Let’s twist the subject to Tucker Carlson like we did last summer.
      Let’s twist the subject to Fox News like we did last year.
      Let’s twist the subject to our favorite boogie man
      Twistin time is here. Twistin time is here.

      1. Aha! A rhyme scheme…

        More of a free verse guy myself…, I’ve been known to cold open my podcast with a venture into free verse, or venture deep into some Sylvia Plath, whose rhyme schemes were a good bit more complex than what you’ve busted out here, TIT. But A for effort, you know?

        EB

  15. “In the video, one student agrees that maybe police should not be included as heroes in a children’s show — a view clearly favored by the professor who said that she would never call police if she were in trouble because “my life’s more in danger in their presence… I wouldn’t call anybody.”

    Does “Academic Freedom ” extend to such utterly stupid thinking and blatant inability to frame intellectual thought and argument as did the Professor in question especially in the mean vile despicable treatment of the Student who voiced a very reasonable construct?

    Professor….if you think that of how this Professor conducted herself….then there is a much larger problem in Academia than even you can grasp.

    Academic Freedom and even Freedom of Speech both involve a socially accepted tone and content in order to be protected.

    Her conduct does not meet any kind of standard that warrants protecting….and the outcry by her supporters clearly demonstrates the lack of Intellectual honesty and depth of thinking by her peers and far too many of the Students.

    Which begs…..just what is being taught at our Colleges and Universities to see such commentary as offered by those folks?

    It certainly is not an institution of higher learning….and is taking monies under false pretenses.

  16. The Left and its acolytes are emboldened by the Press, the Democrat local and the Biden federal government which have allowed major criminality across our cities. That’s why this ignorant faculty member feels she is responsible for indoctrination. She herself appears to have little ability to critically think as she has already been indoctrinated. She’s also just a liar … you know she would call the police.

  17. I can’t imagine how an opinionated bully like this teacher still has a job. Her student was clearly respectful and patient, in effect teaching her how to be a decent and reasonable human being. She didn’t get it. No balance whatsoever. She offered no facts other than raw emotion and radical generalizations. She needs counseling, and longterm oversight. (Really, she should find some other work.)
    And she would be one of the first to start screaming about “safe spaces” for students. Unless they disagree with her.

  18. Two problems with these people.

    First, they live in a liberal bubble that greets these outlandish statements as if they are normal.

    Secondly, they recognize that virtue signaling is a career enhancer, so they publicly lie to gain recognition.

    But the bottom line is that they are hurting the young people they are paid to teach and develop.

    Ugly people.

    1. Monument, this is the question I referred to above. The professor is trying to protect academic freedom after the fact. That is where I believe he strays. He needs to protect academic freedom in the hiring process where diversity is a necessity to fully realize academic freedom.

  19. Even before CRT, if any untenured professor ever spoke to a student like she did, they would never get tenure. Her behavior was nothing short of bullying — out of a misguided and deluded sense of self-righteousness, to be sure. The faculty union is doing exactly what the police unions have done for decades: protecting bad teachers and cops.

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