After Essex County College (ECC) professor Lisa Durden made an appearance earlier this month on Fox News featuring a racist rant that defended a Black Lives Matter demonstration that banned white people from attending, she was suspended indefinitely.
Durden is blaming the suspension on her heated debate earlier this month with Fox’s Tucker Carlson, even though she had previously made numerous appearances on the program.
The liberal activist claimed she was “publicly lynched” after she was indefinitely suspended from teaching her communications and pop culture classes at ECC in Newark, New Jersey – a determination that was made a couple days after the racist remarks she made on June 6 during Tucker Carlson Tonight.
When Carlson asked her about her take on the “blacks-only” policy for a Black Lives Matter Memorial Day celebration, Durden stood behind the move 100 percent with her response.
“What I have to say to that is ‘boo-hoo-hoo,’” the adjunct professor and political commentator shot back at Carlson. “You white people are angry because you couldn’t use your white privilege card to get invited to the Black Lives Matter’s all-black, Memorial Day celebration. Wow!”
The host was quick to point out that BLM acted hypocritically.
“Carlson had said that Black Lives Matter claims to fight segregationist rhetoric, but that their Memorial Day plans contradict that,” the Fox News Insider reported.
Her heated response did not end there.
“At one point, Carlson cut the microphone to the black activist, who constantly mocked and interrupted him,” TheBlaze reported.
Durden, who is also a producer, filmmaker and media commentator, accused the college of wrongdoing and indicated she did not know the reason for her suspension when she showed up to teach her class, but said she got an idea after she was directed to the campus’s Human Resources Department.
“They did this to humiliate me,” Durden insisted to the Newark Star-Ledger, according to NJ.com. “Essex County College publicly lynched me in front of my students.”
Days after her televised appearance, ECC Vice President for Academic Affairs Jeffrey Lee explained to Durden in a letter that she was suspended indefinitely.
“Although it didn’t specifically mention the appearance on the Tucker Carlson show as a reason for the dismissal, Durden says administration officials cited it when speaking to her,” TheBlaze’s Carlos Garcia reported. “According to Durden, Human Resources officials told her that someone complained that she had associated herself with the college while on the show. She says she never did that on the show.”
Durden’s attorney, Leslie Farber, is already challenging ECC’s suspension on her behalf.
“There’s got to be some other agenda,” Farber told NJ.com. “It seems to me they’re going to make up some reason. We’ve got to figure out what that is and why. Is she too outspoken?”
One liberal publication voiced campus support for Durden and her divisive comments spurring racial tensions.
“For those of us who are involved in advocacy, politics, who may hold opinions which differ from those in different spaces, this kind of thing has a terrible chilling effect,” ECC assistant professor of Humanities Rebecca Williams wrote in a letter to the college, according to InsideHigherEd.com. “As this suspension will become public in the world of academia – and especially in black public intellectual circles – it will bring more negative publicity to our institution …”
ECC Professor of Communications Jennifer Wager also expressed her support of Durden.
“Durden has done amazing work for Essex County College for over a decade without ever getting paid,” she said. “She has secured communications students coveted internships in New York media with top documentary producers and organizations[.] … I find it shocking that an African-American woman would be so disrespected at her place of employment for merely exercising her First Amendment right to free speech.”
Furthermore, an online petition has been set up demanding that Durden be reinstated on ECC’s faculty.
Countering the opposition to Durden’s suspension, Lee spoke on behalf of ECC’s administration, insisting that the college is merely standing by its principles that champion inclusion and discourage discrimination and divisiveness.
“The college promotes a community of unity that is inclusive of all,” Lee read from his statement when speaking to the Star Ledger. “The general counsel has handled this matter in a way that complies with New Jersey state law. I am not at liberty to provide further details.”
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