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Initially suspended for championing blacks-only event, professor is fired by college

‘I’ve been publicly lynched,’ professor claims

A professor who was initially suspended by her college for her controversial remarks on Tucker Carlson’s television show has been fired by that college.

The College Fix reported last week that Lisa Durden, an adjunct professor at Essex County College, was suspended from teaching her summer classes after she appeared on Tucker Carlson Tonight and championed a racially-segregated Black Lives Matter event.

“[B]oo hoo hoo,” Durden said on the program, “you white people are angry because you couldn’t use your white privilege card to get invited to the Black Lives Matters [sic] all black Memorial Day celebration.”

In a statement released late last week, Essex County College president Anthony Munroe announced that the college “cannot maintain an employment relationship with [Durden]” due to the “potential impact on students” she might have had.

Essex County “firmly reject and denounce any conduct that implies that all students are not welcome to participate in, or benefit from, our programs or activities on the basis of their race, color, orientation or national origin,” the president wrote.

The statement does not refer to either Durden or Tucker Carlson by name, instead using euphemisms like “the adjunct” and “the host.”

From the announcement:

To continue to effectively fulfill our mission and to continue our legacy of providing opportunity and success, there are principles, which we eagerly embrace. First, Essex County College deeply values free speech and academic freedom. The open exchange of ideas and perspectives gives strength to our institution and provides depth to the education provided to our students.

The College also supports and affirms the right of free speech and independent views and expressions of those views for our faculty and staff. We expect and encourage faculty involvement in our community. My administration has a duty to set a strong example of tolerance. Accordingly, free speech and academic freedom must always work in the service of our student body.

Another principle we embrace is that of being an open-access institution. Our commitment and responsibility to the health and well-being of our students is paramount. Essex County College actively seeks to create an environment, which is welcoming to people of all backgrounds and abilities. Consistent with this principle, we firmly reject and denounce any conduct that implies that all students are not welcome to participate in, or benefit from, our programs or activities on the basis of their race, color, orientation or national origin.

When the administration receives an outpouring of concern regarding our student body, it is our responsibility to investigate those concerns.

While the adjunct who expressed her personal views in a very public setting was in no way claiming to represent the views and beliefs of the College, and does not represent the College, her employment with us and potential impact on students required our immediate review into what seemed to have become a very contentious and divisive issue. For the purpose of a fair and immediate review, the adjunct was suspended with full pay, for the remainder of the summer I session which equated to six (6) working days, pending the outcome of a fair and thorough review of the matter. The adjunct addressed the College community at an open forum on June 20th. In consideration of the College’s mission, and the impact that this matter has had on the College’s fulfillment of its mission, we cannot maintain an employment relationship with the adjunct. The College affirms its right to select employees who represent the institution appropriately and are aligned with our mission.

Durden previously complained that she was being “publicly lynched” by the university, an accusation she later reiterated to The Washington Post.

Read the college president’s statement here.

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