Thursday 20 July 2023

Fired Black DEI Director Files Lawsuit Saying College Was ‘Illegally Targeting White People’

 A black Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) director who was fired by her California community college filed a lawsuit last week accusing the school of “illegally targeting White people.”

Tabia Lee, a tenured faculty member, was fired in March by De Anza College, a public community college in the San Jose area, after she said she questioned antiracist “orthodoxy” in her position as DEI director.

“I was told that [I] was supposed to only advance what at that time I was calling a third-wave antiracism ideology,” Lee said in March.

On July 10, Lee filed a lawsuit against the college, alleging a hostile DEI department “illegally targeting White people on the basis of race.”

The complaint says Lee, who is black, was accused of “whitesplaining” and not being the “right kind of Black person.”

“She happens to be Black, but first and foremost, Dr. Lee is a teacher dedicated to humanism and civil rights,” the complaint reads. “She teaches that people should not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character. De Anza is hostile to this concept.”

The community college district reportedly informed Lee in a letter that the official reasons for her firing was a “persistent inability to demonstrate cooperation in working with colleagues and staff,” her “unwillingness to accept constructive criticism” and “no expectation on the part of the Tenure Review Committee … that improvements in these two critical areas can ever be achieved.”

“These are people who should definitely know better,” Lee told Newsweek. “And the way that they behaved was what they claim other people do to marginalized people. They literally marginalized me as an individual, and they shunned me and they worked really hard to push me out.”

Lee previously said her termination came after she questioned and objected to some of the DEI department’s initiatives, Inside Higher Ed reported.

She objected to the college’s land acknowledgments for a Native American tribe, she tried to spearhead a “Jewish inclusion” event on campus, she refused to join a “socialist network,” she declined to use the gender-neutral term “Latinx,” and she asked why “Black” was capitalized but not “white.”

Lee said she was called a “b****” and dictatorial” for suggesting a pause on the college’s land acknowledgements, when what she actually wanted to do was add changes that the Native American tribes themselves suggested.

Lee also said the same person who invited her to join the “socialist network” accused her of disrespecting a Black Lives Matter founder.

At one point, a college employee even accused her of supporting white supremacy, Lee said.

She also said, “I no longer participate in gender pronouns because I find that the same toxic ideologies around race ideologies are now being advanced under gender ideologies.”

Lee currently wants her old faculty position back along with restitution for financial damages.

The community college district said in a statement that it “has an obligation to protect privacy in personnel matters.”

“Without commenting on any specific matter, we can share that faculty members have comprehensive due process and appeal rights both under the law and negotiated through their bargaining unit,” Foothill-De Anza Community College District said.

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