According to a recent lawsuit, #MeritlessMary – Mary R. Watson a dean at The New School university in New York City – helped have a Black woman professor fired. Allegedly, the termination was in retaliation for reporting Watson’s racist actions. #MeritlessMary appears to be much less qualified as a professor than the Black woman, award-winning filmmaker and scholar Dr. Robin J. Hayes.
“The discrimination has done “long-term” damage to her career and left her “humiliated,” reports The New York Post.
The widely read New York City paper detailed Dr. Hayes’ discrimination and retaliation lawsuit against The New School. The legal action also targets as individuals some of the highest ranking officials at the university including: President David Van Zandt, Labor Relations VP Keila Tennent-DeCouteau, Provost Tim Marshall, Deputy Provost Bryna Sanger, and Executive Dean Mary Watson. Hayes, producer and director of the award-winning documentary Black and Cuba, is African American and openly lesbian.
“The New School only hired her as a token of diversity to stem complaints about its mostly white staff,” the article states.
Read the complete New York Post piece here.
According to a new film short by Progressive Pupil released via social media, the university’s leadership refused to fire psychology Professor Emanuele Castano, despite receiving repeated complaints about his sexual misconduct. According to a lawsuit and report in the New York Post, a student alleged Castano raped her at least ten times.
In contrast, according to the video and a recent lawsuit filed by Progressive Pupil’s founder Dr. Robin J. Hayes, The New School’s provost Tim Marshall terminated Hayes after she reported enduring years of discrimination including unequal compensation, harassment, and breach of her contract.
Castano is a heterosexual White man. Hayes is a Queer Black woman.
See the video below.
Many of us women, people of color, and members of the LGBT+ community dread these first few days of the new year. The prospect of returning to campuses, nonprofits or companies where we are isolated, harassed, and blocked from success can be disheartening. In my own life, discrimination fanned the flames of doubt and shame I internalized through living in a society where I rarely saw anyone who looked like me-or loved like me-enjoy professional success.
If you’re steeling yourself against microaggressions, mansplaining, or other inappropriate discriminatory behavior, remember two things.
1. It’s Not You.
Discrimination is not something you can prevent with professional excellence, code switching expertise, or fitting into racial or gendered norms of behavior. It is driven solely by perpetrators’ allegiance to White supremacist, sexist and/or homophobic beliefs. (Whether that allegiance is subconscious is not your concern). Discrimination is illegal precisely because it has nothing to do with your actions.
2. You Are Not Alone.
Chances are you are not the only person at your campus or organization that desires a more inclusive atmosphere. To the extent that your feedback is solicited or you have decision-making authority about diversity-related programs, suggesting more trainings and cultural events might jumpstart the constructive conversations about equality and inclusion your organization needs.
I am hopeful for progress. The more we speak up, the swifter change will come. Happy New Year.
Yours in Solidarity,
“How do you get students to accept help?” a teacher asked me.
She was one of a diverse group of dedicated, intelligent young educators who help high school students from smaller income neighborhoods attend college. During our recent conversation, it was mentioned that some of their most hard-working and focused students arrive at a university, confront challenges with course work and then—heartbreakingly—refuse to seek or take advantage of help that is available.
They are so determined to do it on their own, her colleague explained, “because they want to help their families.” These educators’ compassionate concerns and the heavy burden their students are carrying stayed with me. When a teacher asked me, “How did you manage to get the help you needed?” I realized that during my entire career as an African American, working-class, queer woman student (Pre-K through PhD) I never did.