TRENTON, N.J. — A nonprofit organization said Tuesday that documents it obtained from a New Jersey college show the school was not “inundated” with complaints about an instructor who made racially charged comments during a television interview.
Essex County College fired Adjunct Professor Lisa Durden in June after she made comments on Fox News defending a Black Lives Matter event that only invited black people. Durden is black.
When show host Tucker Carlson asked her thoughts, Durden interrupted him, saying: “Boo hoo hoo. You white people are angry because you couldn’t use your white privilege card” to attend the event.
Durden was suspended two days later and subsequently fired. Essex County College president Anthony Munroe said at the time the school in Newark had been “inundated” with messages from students and parents expressing concern about the comments.
“The character of this institution mandates that we embrace diversity, inclusion, and unity. Racism cannot be fought with more racism,” Munroe wrote at the time.
The Foundation for Individual Rights in Education, which has raised concerns about the circumstances of Durden’s termination, sued the school earlier this month, claiming it had violated state law by ignoring multiple open records requests about her case.
The group on Tuesday released the records it eventually obtained. They show one person contacted the college to complain about Durden in the 13 days following her appearance, while two other professors also sent emails: one defending Durden and another joking about the controversy.
Munroe and a college spokesman did not respond Tuesday to requests for comment.
Durden’s attorney, Leslie Farber, said Tuesday that her client plans to file litigation over her termination “in the near future.” A spokesman for the nonprofit group said it was not working with Durden on a lawsuit.