Shannon Gibney, a Black professor of English at Minneapolis Community and Technical College, is involved in a brewing legal matter after white students complained of racial harassment in her class. Now, Ms. Gibney and other professors are filing suit against the college stating it is a discriminatory workplace.
Early last month, Gibney was reprimanded by school officials after a spat in her class involving three white male students turned ugly. While providing a lesson on structural racism in her Intro to Mass Communications class, one of the white students allegedly interrupted her.
“Why do we have to talk about this in every class? Why do we have to talk about this?” said Gibney during a video interview with City College News. “I was shocked.”
She added, "His whole demeanor was very defensive. He was taking it personally. I tried to explain, of course, in a reasonable manner – as reasonable as I could given the fact that I was being interrupted and put on the spot in the middle of class – that this is unfortunately the context of 21st century America.”
Gibney said two other white male students chimed in with one challenging her that she was stating all white men were “the villains, the bad guys” before she tried to calm down the situation. After attempting to reason, Gibney says she told the group they could file a formal racial harassment discrimination complaint.
The trio did so, with the school coming down hard on Gibney as a result.
“While I believe it was your intention to discuss structural racism generally,” said the school's Vice President of Academic Affairs, “it was inappropriate for you to single out white male students in class. Your actions in [targeting] select students based on their race and gender caused them embarrassment and created a hostile learning environment.”
Gibney and six other professors are banding together to file a federal class action lawsuit in response to the statement.
An open letter on Black Voices keenly explains the audacity of the racial discrimination claims of the three white students. Hit the jump to see Professor Shannon Gibney explain the situation with the white students in a video interview.
Photo: YouTube/City College News