Essex County Community College has decided to explain their decision to suspend adjunct professor and Black Lives Matter supporter Lisa Durden, following her heated appearance on the Fox News show “Tucker Carlson Tonight.”
In a statement obtained by The Daily Caller News Foundation, college president Dr. Anthony E. Munroe refers to Durden only as an “Essex County College Adjunct.” Munroe says in the statement the school was hammered with complaints from “students, faculty, and prospective students and their families expressing frustration, concern and even fear that the views expressed by a College employee [with influence over students] would negatively impact their experience on campus.”
Munroe said that in light of these events he wanted to assure the public that Essex is committed to “maintaining a welcoming environment to all students from a variety of races,” even quoting Martin Luther King and then adding, “racism cannot be fought with more racism.”
The school will be forming a committee devoted to “unity in diversity” with the aim of helping students of all backgrounds to feel welcome, including those who identify as white, he said.
Addressing the length of her suspension for the first time, he added: “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.”
Durden has been suspended with full pay for the remainder of the summer, which only amounts to six working days. During that time her case will be reviewed and a more permanent decision will be made. Munroe, however, also stated that the college could no longer “maintain an employment relationship with the adjunct.”
“The college affirms it’s right to select employees who represent the institution appropriately and are aligned with our mission,” he said.
Durden railed against white people in the Fox News appearance. “Boo hoo hoo,” she said. “You white people are angry because you couldn’t use white privilege card to get invited to the Black Live Matter all black Memorial day celebration. … Black Lives Matter decided to have one day where they didn’t want white folks who were going to be off the rails.”
“This particular day, they said stay your asses out,” she said, when Carlson asked her if it is racist to exclude white people from the event. “We want to celebrate today. We don’t want anybody going against us today.”
Carlson called her demented and sic, which prompted Durden to call America a racist society that forces African Americans to exclude whites. At one point Durden was so out of control that Carlson threatened to shut down the interview.
Munroe addressed first amendment concerns in the statement that have arisen over Durden’s suspension, saying the school values free speech and academic freedom, but believes that the “health and well being” of students trumps any personal views held by an adjunct. He said the college also rejects “any conduct that implies that all students are not welcome to participate in, or benefit from, our program or activities on the basis of their race, color, orientation or national origin.”
TheDCNF reached out for further comment but was told that Mr. Munroe would be out of his office until July 3rd.