By Corey Walker
A diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) director claims she was fired from a California community college for disagreeing with certain elements of social justice ideology.
Dr. Tabita Lee claims she was denied tenure and fired from DeAnza College on March 6 after failing to adhere to specific narratives on racial issues. Lee claims that she was punished in part for questioning certain anti-racism efforts and policies within the school.
“I noticed that there was a lot of resistance to my even asking questions about anti-racism policy efforts and language,” Lee said, “I purely wanted to know what folks meant when they were using those terms, and I encountered a lot of hostility.” Lee said in a video released by the Foundation Against Intolerance and Racism (FAIR).
Lee claims that her peers expected her to hold certain viewpoints because of her race. When it was revealed that her viewpoints differed from what was expected, she experienced backlash.
“They said they wanted a black person to do this job. Apparently, I am the wrong kind of black,” Lee said according to FAIR
Lee also claims she was accused of “whitesplaining” during her first week on the job and promoting “white supremacy,” according to FAIR.
Lee told the Daily Caller she was met with overt hostility, which included being called a “right-wing extremist,” being attacked with profanity and dealing with a colleague who wanted Lee’s job and was in many ways the “architect” of her troubles.
“When I began to question [certain DEI initiatives in my workplace]…FAIR was instrumental in protecting me so that I could continue to…serve our California community colleges and keep them as safe spaces for academic freedom & freedom of expression.”
– Tabia Lee pic.twitter.com/xmQNbZn7Je
— Foundation Against Intolerance & Racism (FAIR) (@fairforall_org) January 15, 2023
Lee told the Caller that she felt surprised by the chilly reception at DeAnza because she openly admitted during the hiring process that she didn’t consider herself “woke.”
Lee also told the Caller that another sticking-point during her tenure was her willingness to advocate for Jewish students. She said that Jewish students felt uncomfortable on campus but that others told her that helping the school’s Jewish community was “not important” because Jewish people were “white” and therefore “the oppressors.”
“There was a very clear problem with antisemitism,” Lee told the Caller.
She states that she also butted heads with the school’s women, gender and sexuality center. White faculty members claimed they didn’t feel welcome at the center, according to Lee. She alleged that the center’s team members didn’t care if white people felt comfortable because they were “de-centering whiteness.” Lee claims that she opposed that stance because believed the space should be open for everyone on a public campus.
For her stances, Lee claims that she experienced, “weekly and daily harassment” and that her tenure review process was subverted.
Ultimately, she claims she was fired because administrators expected her to pursue her duties “in the mold of Ibram X. Kendi.”
“I’ve never encountered individuals like this that have been so hostile through and through,” Lee told the Caller.
Lee raised concerns that DEI programs were becoming intolerant to viewpoint diversity and that the growing national backlash against these programs in red-state legislatures would likely become more popular if what she described as their true nature were more widely known.
“If people knew these offices were being used to promote a singular ideology,” Lee said “they would demand they would be shut down.”
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