A New Jersey community college defended its move to fire an adjunct professor over her racially charged comments in a face-off with Fox News’ Tucker Carlson.
Essex County College president Anthony Munroe, citing an onslaught of complaints after Lisa Durden’s June 6 cable-news clash, affirmed the Newark school’s support for free speech — but concluded “racism cannot be fought with more racism.”
“In consideration of the College’s mission, and the impact that this matter has had on the College’s fulfillment of its mission, we cannot maintain an employment relationship with the adjunct,” Munroe said in a lengthy statement Friday.
“The College affirms its right to select employees who represent the institution appropriately and are aligned with our mission.”
The two-year public school had initially slapped the communications professor with a full-pay suspension after she used phrases like “white-privilege card” while defending a Black Lives Matter group’s all-black Memorial Day festivities in the heated interview.
She was later fired after addressing the school community during an “open forum” held Tuesday, the institution president said.
“I thought the whole point of Black Lives Matter … would be to speak out against singling people out on the basis of their race and punishing them for that,” Carlson kicked off the interview.
“What I say to that is, boo hoo hoo,” Durden shot back. “You white people are angry because you couldn’t use your white-privilege card to get invited to the Black Lives Matter all-black Memorial Day celebration.”
Durden’s rationale for the “one day for black folks to focus on ourselves” hinged on white people having had “white days forever,” as she cited the Academy Awards, TV shows, and the long-overdue first black “Bachelorette” by way of example.
She went on to compare the event to a wedding that excluded children.
“This particular day, they said stay your a–es out,” Durden said. “We want to celebrate today. We don’t want anybody going against us today.”
As an indignant Carlson labeled Durden’s arguments “hostile and separatist and crazy” and said he hoped she wasn’t “speaking for anyone else,” the professor did not ID herself as an employee of the college. Carlson had introduced her as a “political commentator and Black Lives Matter supporter.”
“My name is Lisa Durden,” she said at one point. “I’m speaking for Lisa Durden.”
In the wake of her axing, Durden told NJ.com on Friday that students and fellow staffers had backed her up — and likened her predicament to that of a rape survivor blamed for the assault.
Her lawyer, Leslie Farber, told the Daily News on Sunday she and Durden were weighing legal action against the college.
“Essex County College violated her U.S. Constitutional and New Jersey civil rights of free speech and New Jersey public policy by first suspending and then firing her because she expressed her views, that had nothing to do with her job, on Fox’s Tucker Carlson show,” Farber wrote in an email.