A Huntington Beach community college said it is reviewing internal policies and viable actions after a professor was filmed making disparaging comments to a Long Beach couple that went viral recently.
Long Beach resident Tony Kao posted a video on Facebook Thursday that has been viewed over 400,000 times showing a woman telling him and his wife to “go back to your home country.”
Kao and his wife were said to be walking down a residential street in Long Beach along with their daughter when the woman approached them and made racist remarks against them. Kao assured the woman that both him and his wife were born the United States.
Posted by Tony Kao on Thursday, March 1, 2018
Many online users recognized the woman in the video to be Tarin Frances Olson, a psychology professor at Golden West College since 1991, which school officials confirmed.
“District administration and leadership of the college are working together to see what the action plan is to take the next steps,” GWC spokeswoman Letitia Clark told the Post. “We know how damaging this can be so we are taking it very seriously. We understand students may feel uncomfortable and unsafe because of those racist comments.”
The following statement was released Monday evening by Golden West College:
“Golden West College takes all of the recent concerns and comments expressed by members of our community very seriously. The recent video posted online of a faculty member’s comments in public are extremely disappointing and do not reflect the values or mission of the College. We expect that our faculty and staff adhere to the District’s ‘Board Policy 3050 – Code of Professional Ethics’, which requires that the conduct of employees, as ‘public employees’, shall be worthy of the respect and confidence of the community the District serves. Employees should, therefore, avoid conduct which is in violation of the public trust or which creates a justifiable impression among the community that such trust is being violated. We deeply regret that the words expressed were painful and hurtful to our students and all of the supportive members of our community.
We are reviewing all internal policies and viable options for next actionable steps. We do not anticipate the faculty member in question to be on campus this week and because this is a personnel matter, additional details may be limited as further review continues. We value and support the free and open exchange of thoughts and ideas in an environment that embraces mutual respect and civility. We appreciate the continuous feedback of the community and are asking that all concerns be sent to [email protected] If a call back is needed, please leave your contact information.”
Mayor Robert Garcia tweeted Monday afternoon that he was disgusted by these racist remarks and that he communicated with Mr. Kao to assure him that Long Beach supports him and his family.
These comments are disgusting and not what Long Beach is all about. I had a chance to communicate with Mr. Kao and told him that Long Beach supports him and his family. I also thanked him for speaking out. https://t.co/Aegd2OFxly
— Robert Garcia (@RobertGarciaLB) March 5, 2018
Over 150 negative reviews have been recently posted on a Facebook page for Olson’s therapy practice located in the Belmont Heights area. https://www.facebook.com/pages/Ms-Tarin-Frances-Olson/616405715190355 Olson’s Huntington location has received over 36 negative reviews on Yelp since the incident. https://www.yelp.com/biz/tarin-f-olson-huntington-beach
“I feel my perspective will be twisted if discussing the skewed video which cut out part of the incident,” Olson said in a statement published by CBS Los Angeles. “If you would like to have a full normal interview about the displacement of European-Americans then I gladly am available to enlighten the public.”
The college first made a statement regarding the incident on it social media pages on Saturday that read: “It has recently come to our attention that there was a video posted on Facebook of a GWC faculty member making comments that the College does not condone or support. Golden West College believes in an inclusive and welcoming environment for all students.”
Some people online called for Olson’s firing in response to the college’s statement.
“As an educator, I can say without a doubt in my mind that a person who holds these kinds of attitudes towards people of color does not belong in the teaching profession,” one Twitter user stated “If you think such vile things about people in general, you cannot be an effective teacher.”
Aand as an educator, I can say without a doubt in my mind that a person who holds these kinds of attitudes towards people of color does not belong in the teaching profession. If you think such vile things about people in general, you cannot be an effective teacher.
— HTek (@HTekrzbg) March 5, 2018
The incident took place around the same time a Florida middle school social studies teacher was removed from the classroom for allegedly hosting a white supremacist podcast, sharing anti-Semitic conspiracy theories and suggesting that Muslims be eradicated from the planet, according to the Huffington Post.
The former teacher boasted about bringing her white nationalist beliefs into her middle school classroom, and talked about how she hid her beliefs from school administrators, the online publication reported.
This is not the first time a local educator has come under fire for discriminatory beliefs.
Former Cal State Long Beach professor Kevin MacDonald is best known for his controversial application of evolutionary psychology to characterize Jewish behavior and is the current editor of the Occidental Observer which covers “white identity, white interests, and the culture of the West”. He was a professor at Cal State Long Beach from 1985 to fall 2014.
MacDonald believed that his personal political and philosophical beliefs don’t belong in the classroom. However, students who confronted and eventually boycotted his classroom, felt that such beliefs are impossible to untangle from educational endeavors.
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