A California community college professor who was placed on leave after handing out the Daily Wire’s Jeremy’s Chocolate at an April event remains suspended from his position and said he has not been told whether he can return to teaching this fall.
“I’m utterly confused at this point,” Professor David Richardson told The College Fix in an exclusive interview Friday. “I don’t know whether I’m going back in August, or what is happening right now.”
Richardson, a history professor at Madera Community College in California for nearly 30 years, was suspended after handing out the chocolate during an open house event on campus.
A faculty member confronted Richardson for handing out the chocolate bars, after which he was placed on administrative leave.
Jeremy’s Chocolate bars are labeled with the pronouns “He/Him” and “She/Her,” the former of which have nuts in them and the latter of which do not. Progressives on social media have criticized the brand as “transphobic.”
Richardson, who is gay, has since been interviewed by an outside investigator, but has received no word on whether he will be allowed to return to campus, he said.
“There’s no way for me to prepare for classes unless I have access to the work computer. I’m in a very weird nether world right now where I don’t know what’s happening,” he said.
Richardson (pictured) said he recently received the results of his tenure evaluation in the mail, which was performed shortly before his suspension. It recommended his continued employment as a tenured professor at Madera.
“It makes me think I’m going back,” he said. “But I haven’t gotten the official word.”
Madera Community College spokesman Cory Burkarth declined to provide a statement about Richardson’s status.
Richardson has faced discipline from Madera Community College in the past.
In 2022, the professor filed a lawsuit against the school alleging a violation of his First and Fourteenth Amendment rights after he was told to complete a six-hour DEI training course. This was the result of the professor allegedly using gender pronouns “mockingly,” Just the News reported.
Richardson told The College Fix on Monday his lawsuit remains ongoing but is “moving along slowly.”
“My attorney is filing a supplemental complaint to cover the new incident,” Richardson said. “…Both incidents are related in that they concern pronouns-transgender-free speech issues — but why they went to the extreme of suspension just two weeks before the end of the semester, panicking the students and throwing the campus into chaos, I couldn’t guess. Why not just wait two weeks?”
Richardson said that because he is locked out of his school accounts and barred from returning to campus until his suspension is lifted, he is unable to prepare lessons for the coming academic year.
Though he is unsure about his future at Madera Community College, Richardson told The Fix that free speech at California’s colleges and universities is under attack, arguing that First Amendment protections have been “completely gutted.”
“For the first twenty-plus years of my career, the idea of firing, or filing a complaint and then suspending faculty, was virtually unheard of,” Richardson said.
“It’s going to be a battleground, I guess. And we’re going to have to see where everything goes with all of this,” he added.
Richardson’s continued suspension follows a series of recent controversies involving conservative professors at community colleges in California.
On June 1, Professor Daymon Johnson of Bakersfield College filed a lawsuit accusing the school of chilling his free speech rights. Johnson was the subject of a five month school-led investigation after he referred to a colleague as a radical social justice warrior.
In April, Bakersfield College Professor Matthew Garrett was fired after publicly criticizing the institution’s social justice programs.
One member of the Kern Community College District’s board of trustees, which oversees Bakersfield, compared faculty such as Garrett who opposed diversity initiatives to livestock that needed to be “taken to the slaughterhouse.”
Richardson said that even though the trustee later apologized for his remark, it speaks to the reality of what conservative faculty in California are experiencing.
“He said it best, they’re culling the herd,” Richardson said.
“If you don’t support DEI and CRT and even the transgender ideology, you’ll be ‘taken to the slaughterhouse.’ And it seems like more and more of us are being led to the slaughterhouse than I’ve ever seen,” he said.
Richardson’s case is overseen by the Board of Trustees of the State Center Community College District. He said his lawsuit was on its closed meeting agenda recently.
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