Dr. Tabia Lee has filed a lawsuit against De Anza College in California, after being fired from her position as director of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) for speaking out against questionable policies at the school.
In the lawsuit, Dr. Lee accuses the college of “illegally targeting White people on the basis of race” and terminating her employment when she spoke up against the “racial stereotypes [De Anza] peddled.” When questioning or opposing things such as using the term “Latinx” or the capitalization of the race “Black” but not “white,” she was accused of perpetuating “white supremacy” and “colonialism”—as well as not being the “right kind of black person.” She also claims to have been called a “dirty Zionist” for having pro-Jewish speakers on campus.
“Lee espouses the idea, abhorrent in the District, that people, especially teachers, must treat people like human beings, not political abstractions reduced to unchangeable attributes ascribed by characteristics of race and gender beloved by De Anza’s race and gender ideologues,” the lawsuit reads.
Instead of falling in line, Dr. Lee continued to support diversity on campus. She fought for the intellectual diversity that challenges students to have open minds and come to their own conclusions rather than to be fed a predetermined ideology by the school.
For De Anza, her refusal to fall into line was unacceptable. They couched that determination in phrases such as “unwillingness to accept constructive criticism” and “persistent inability to demonstrate cooperation” but, when it comes down to it, those phrases simply mean that Dr. Lee wanted to stand up for equality and free expression and the college would not allow it.
Dr. Lee called them out on their hypocrisy in an interview with Newsweek. “These are people who should definitely know better,” Lee said. “And the way that they behaved was what they claim other people do to marginalized people. They literally marginalized me as an individual, and they shunned me and they worked really hard to push me out.”
Students of all ages should be taught not what to think but how to think—for themselves. They need to see leaders who will champion equal opportunities and free speech. When they see those champions fired and unfairly canceled, it sends a chilling message that they need to toe the line or face significant consequences. Students—and brave faculty members like Dr. Lee—deserve better.