A department head at Santa Barbara City College (SBCC) is on unpaid leave for using a derogatory term.
Luz Reyes-Martin, Executive Director of Public Affairs and Communications at SBCC, confirmed to reporter Beth Farnsworth, that Lyndsay Mass, Vice President of Business Services, used the racial slur while repeating a story shared earlier by a student.
The incident happened Wednesday, November 14, during a gender equity work group meeting which was called in response to a spike in student complaints about gender and racial issues on campus.
In one incident, a student shared that someone aimed the racial slur in their direction while in the campus library.
Reyes-Martin said Maas said the actual word when she repeated the story. Later, Maas issued an apology for uttering the word and the ensuing pain it caused.
Maas was placed on leave November 19, the same day a number of people appeared before the Santa Barbara Board of Trustees demanding that Maas turn in her resignation.
SBCC President Dr. Anthony Beebe released a statement on November 20 which reads in part:
“Santa Barbara City College is not unaffected by the history and power dynamics that support racism and other forms of discrimination. As an institution of learning, we must hold ourselves and each other accountable and commit to the necessary work to address and root out racism and inequity on our campus. Racism and inequality are painful aspects of our history and remain in our environment. We must change that. As difficult as this work may be, it must continue. The work requires all of us, and I welcome all voices, from throughout campus, to be part of making this institutional change.”
Beebe also shared a statement submitted by Maas, at her request, which reads in part:
“Maas issued an apology and released a statement through the school which reads, in part: “That word should never be used in any context as it only serves to perpetuate racism, and I was complicit. I recognize that I need to reflect on what took place and do thoughtful, informed work to educate myself. I will spend my future at SBCC more aware of how words can cause pain. Additionally, I will continue to be a part of the changes needed to help battle on campus racism.”
Reyes-Martin said SBCC is moving forward with anti-racism training for employees and management.