A total of 81 public statements were submitted by faculty, students and community members to the NOCCCD Board of Trustees ahead of their regular meeting Tuesday, addressing the viral clip of the Cypress College adjunct instructor and student shown in a heated debate.
The Board of Trustees initially limited the public statements on the topic to the first 20 minutes of the meeting but later moved to hear all the submissions which ultimately lasted over one hour. Each statement was limited to three minutes.
The statements ranged from people calling for the support of the instructor to speaking up against the way Cypress College administration handled the situation and being critical of the college president.
The NOCCCD Student Coalition issued its statement demanding the resignation of Cypress College President JoAnna Schilling.
“When our district does not stand in clear opposition to white supremacists, islamophobic and gender attacks they are effectively showing students from similar communities they will not protect us either,” the Student Coalition statement also read.
The majority of the statements were aimed at the mishandling of the incident by the college administration noting how the instructor was immediately silenced and prohibited to make any comment adding context to the viral clip.
Statements also questioned the college’s stance on racial justice and being anti-racist citing a statement made by Schilling April 20, the same day the verdict in the trial of George Floyd’s death was announced.
“No matter what the verdict was today, at Cypress College we remain committed to our pursuit of racial justice, becoming an anti-racist institution, and being unapologetic in our assurance that our campus community will care for and be there for our students and employees,” read the official statement by Schilling.
Some of the statements read during the meeting accused the president’s message of being performative.
“It is evident to me that the administration of our colleges and district only care about anti-racism when it makes them look good,” read Fullerton College English professor Cynthia Guardado’s statement.
Chancellor Cheryl A. Marshall made her statement noting that an impartial review is currently in progress to further understand the implications of the video and its release to the public.
“I am confident that when the review has been completed, we will see more clearly that over the past two weeks, decisions have been made for the right reasons,” Marshall said. “As we heal from the hurt and wounds felt by members of our community with differing perspectives, it is time to lay the groundwork for an even stronger academic environment, where academic freedom and education work in harmony.”
The three-minute clip, which made major news headlines last week, shows the instructor and student in what looks like a heated debate. The shared clip to the public continued to bring up the district’s policy on sharing recorded class meetings without permission by the instructor in many of the statements during the board meeting.
Shortly after the video went viral, Cypress College administration announced the instructor was placed on a leave of absence which sparked outrage among district faculty because of the lack of due process and investigation into the matter.
The adjunct instructor released her full statement stating, “the district has failed to protect me and allowed racialized and gendered attacks against me.”
An anonymous statement read during the board meeting said, “Anti-racism is firm from the very beginning and if our administrators claim that our campus is in pursuit of that and is unapologetic in support of students and faculty, this incident would not have played out like this.”