College professor fired in wake of heated Fox News interview

Angie Massey
June 26, 2017

Lisa Durden, an adjunct professor of communications at Essex County College in New Jersey, was sacked after remarks made to Tucker Carlson on Fox News defending a Memorial Day party hosted by a NY chapter of Black Lives Matter and intended for "blacks-only".

Lisa Durden was initially suspended after she responded to Carlson's questioning of a "blacks only" Memorial Day event by saying "Boo hoo hoo".

"You white people are angry because you couldn't use your white privilege card".

The two-year public school had initially slapped the communications prof 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.

Following a review, Lisa Durden was sacked by Essex County College on Friday - the tertiary institute's president Anthony Munroe saying her remarks had "become a very contentious and divisive issue" on campus.

"What I say to that is, boo hoo hoo", Durden shot back.

'The character of this institution mandates that we embrace diversity, inclusion, and unity. The school on Friday said "racism can not be fought with more racism".

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Munroe said in his statement that families who contacted the school over Durden's comments expressed frustration and even fear that, as a college professor, her views would have an influence on students.

Now her attorney, Leslie Farber, told NJ.com that they are considering legal action against Essex County College.

"The college affirms its right to select employees who represent the institution appropriately and are aligned with our mission", Munroe said, while noting it "supports and affirms the right of free speech and independent views and expressions of those views for our faculty and staff".

"My name is Lisa Durden", she said at one point.

When asked if she thought it was fair for whites to attend other Black Lives Matters celebrations, she said, "They do all the time". But after another meeting with college officials last Tuesday, Durden got the axe. The Newark resident said she thought living in a "black and brown city" and working for a "black and brown college", she would be supported after a trying appearance on Fox News.

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. "When you look at Black Lives Matter marching, when you see Black Lives Matter coming together collectively ... on different issues, you see people of all races", Darden said.

"I fully believe that institutions of higher learning must provide a safe space for students..."

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