N.J. college president defends firing professor over Fox News appearance

Shortly into Anthony Munroe’s tenure as president of a northern New Jersey college, the school suspended and ultimately fired an adjunct professor after a heated appearance on Fox News in June.

This week, Munroe defended the June 20 firing of adjunct communications professor Lisa Durden, saying in a videotaped statement that the college was inundated with concerns from students, faculty, and prospective students and their families after Durden’s heated exchange with Fox News’ Tucker Carlson on “Tucker Carlson Tonight.”

Asked by Carlson to explain why a New York chapter of Black Lives Matter hosted a “blacks-only” Memorial Day party, Durden defended the group for wanting to have “one day for black folks to focus on ourselves.”

“You white people are angry because you couldn’t use your ‘white privilege’ card to get invited to Black Lives Matter’s all-black Memorial Day celebration. Wow,” said Durden, who is black and a BLM supporter. “You’ve been having ‘White Day’ forever.”

During the roughly six-minute interview, Carlson called Durden’s comments “hostile, separatist and crazy.”

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.

“When the administration receives an outpouring of concern regarding our student body, it is our responsibility to investigate those concerns,” he said. “The character of this institution mandates that we embrace diversity, inclusion, and unity. Racism cannot be fought with more racism.”

In his statement, Munroe made it clear that his college is committed to a welcoming environment to all students of a variety of races, backgrounds and cultures.

Ultimately, Durden had to go, he said.

“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 stated. “The college affirms its right to select employees who represent the institution appropriately and are aligned with our mission.”

After her June 6 appearance, Durden was suspended with pay for the remaining six days of the school’s Summer I session. After she addressed the situation to the school’s board at a public meeting on June 20, Durden was fired, according to an NJ.com report.

Durden told NJ.com that she received support from staff members and students after her firing, but she compared the experience to a rape victim who is blamed for the crime and a person who returns from war to a hostile environment.

“It should be a safe place for me,” Durden said of the college. “I thought when I came home from war, I would be safe.”

Durden and her attorney, Leslie Farber, are taking legal action over her firing, NJ.com reported.

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