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White Student Harrassed By Black Professor Speaks Out

The Huffington Post has interviewed a former student at Minneapolis Community and Technical College who is at the heart of a national controversy surrounding allegations that a professor there singled him out and accused him and other white, male students of bias and oppression.

In a story published Monday, The Huffington Post reports that the former student, who is white, claims “the situation at the root of a black faculty member’s recent complaints about racial harassment in 2009 was more complicated than the narrative the professor offered last week.”

MCTC instructor Shannon Gibney has lodged federal complaints against MCTC, accusing it of workplace discrimination. Various media outlets picked up an interview she gave last month to the student newspaper, City College News, in which Gibney accused the college of punishing her this fall semester for discussing racism in a way that made white students uncomfortable. …

But one former student and newspaper staff member, Ryan Trainor, told The Huffington Post that the white editors of City College News felt personally attacked by Gibney. The incident ultimately led him to file a formal complaint with the college accusing her of racial harassment in 2009.

Trainor said that Gibney that year brought her journalism class to sit in and observe a regular meeting of the City College News staff. At one point, he says, Gibney offered some unprompted advice to the paper’s editors.

According to Trainor, Gibney said the newspaper’s readership problems were partly due to the “systematic oppression of non-white males in journalism,” and that “it’s white men that are the problem in this newsroom.” Trainor said the staff felt vilified and singled out.

Trainor said he subsequently emailed Gibney to voice how upset he was about the episode, saying that her remarks were “racist,” an “unprofessional tirade” and unfair toward the all-white staff, according to emails provided to HuffPost. Trainor, who was the newspaper’s opinion editor at the time, said the paper had never turned away anyone of color.

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