By now, many have seen a segment with renowned Black journalist and college professor Lisa Durden on the “Tucker Carlson Tonight” show. The exchange about a “Black Lives Matter” Memorial Day event that was billed as Blacks only resulted in Durden being terminated from her position as an adjunct professor at Essex County College in New Jersey. Durden has had a relationship with Essex County College that stretches back at least 13 years.
Durden selflessly dedicated her time and energy to help a fledgling mass communications program get off the ground. This included helping students get internships within media organizations that would not only further student learning but also increase the awareness of Essex County College’s mass communications program.
On the program, Durden clearly stated that she was expressing her views and her right to free speech.
However, in a letter dated June 8, 2017, it simply reads in part that “your services at the college during the Summer 1 Term are suspended until further notice, during which time you will continue to receive compensation.”
The letter signed by Dr. Jeffrey Lee, Vice President of Academic Affairs, at Essex County College gives no reason for the suspension. It is not until almost 3 weeks later that Essex County College President Anthony Munroe said the school received complaints about Durden after her June 6 appearance on “Tucker Carlson Tonight.”
According to a statement released by Munroe:
“The college was immediately inundated with feedback from students, faculty and prospective students and their families expressing frustration, concern and even fear that the views expressed by a college employee (with influence over students) would negatively impact their experience on the campus…I fully believe that institutions of higher learning must provide a safe space for students… The character of this institution mandates that we embrace diversity, inclusion, and unity. Racism cannot be fought with more racism.”
According to Durden information about alleged complaints was never given to her in writing.
It should be noted that this is not the first time that Durden has been a guest on the Fox News channel. She is often featured and promoted as a quote radical” black journalist and her image is one that Fox uses to stimulate debate and give an alternative to its ultraconservative message. But being an ultra Black voice and exercising our right to free speech has had a dramatic turn for Durden. Not only did she lose her job but she is also receiving hate mail, graphic pornographic images, and very real death threats because of her exercise of free speech that hit a nerve among White supremacist viewers of Fox News.
Durden has described the experience as similar to a lynching using mass media mechanisms. No, there was no physical lynching of Lisa Durden, but there was a deliberate career lynching promulgated some would say by Essex County College. But she has support from many including students at Essex County College who have started a change.org petition “REINSTATE PROFESSOR LISA DURDEN! EQUALITY FOR ADJUNCTS!”
Rolling out spoke with Durden about the furor surrounding her termination after appearing on the “Tucker Carlson” show: