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Safe space to discuss impact of admin using N-word in planning

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Safe space to discuss impact of admin using N-word in planning

Daniel Wallace, Associate Editor

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The Student Senate is planning to host an event for students to speak directly to Vice President of Business Services Lyndsay Maas about how her use of the N-word has affected them.

Maas had used the unabbreviated racial slur while she had been leading a Gender Equity Workgroup meeting, stating “I can’t believe our students are called [N-word] on campus.” She is now on unpaid leave indefinitely. Since then, both the Board of Trustees (linked) and the Academic Senate (linked) have heard from the college community about the issue, with many sharing their own experiences of racism on campus and strongly rebuking the administration for insufficiently responding to the matter.

The Black Faculty and Staff Association in its letter to Superintendent-President Anthony Beebe has demanded Maas’ resignation, adding that all administrators, faculty and staff should have in-person anti-racism training and an independent entity should be established to address claims of discrimination and harassment on campus. The SBCC Student Coalition for Justice echoed these requests in its letter to Beebe.

On Friday, the senate discussed whether to support the coalition’s requests and allocated $5,000 for an event to help the college community heal to take place before the end of the semester.

“Students are suffering and they haven’t had a space to communicate their feelings and say what they really feel,” Senator Kevin Ni said. “They’ve been feeling trapped.”

The senate sent a letter to Beebe Saturday to request Maas’ presence at the event, which would give students the opportunity of telling her how they feel and give her the opportunity to apologize in person instead of via email. Because Maas is on leave, she is prohibited from campus unless given permission to return by Beebe. As of Monday, Beebe has not responded to the senate’s request for Maas to appear at the event.

Many senators wanted to give her the chance to apologize to the college community in person before deciding whether to support calls for her resignation. Senator Kenny Igbechi also questioned whether firing her would help to address racism at City College.

“Taking one person out of an organization doesn’t change the organization. We should give her a chance,” Igbechi said.

Although the group has postponed voting on whether to support calls for Maas to resign until its next meeting Dec. 7, it did vote to support the requests for anti-racism training and an independent entity to address claims of discrimination and harassment.

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Safe space to discuss impact of admin using N-word in planning