STORY BY JAVIER RAMOS AND MATT CHAVEZ
PHOTO BY JAVIER RAMOS
CYPRESS CHRONICLE STAFF WRITER
Students and faculty members gathered outside the NOCCCD building on Tuesday evening, May 11, demanding multiple resignations and better care for professors of color whom they feel have been “targets for right-wing hate groups”. This all stems from the now infamous debate between Professor Faryha Salim and student Braden Ellis.
Protestors stood on the sidewalk and lawn in front of the Anaheim structure with signs that read: “Protect Our Faculty”, “NOCCCD is Racist”, and “White Silence is Violence”.
With a portable speaker and microphone, a few of the protestors spoke out in support of Professor Salim and listed off demands targeted at Cypress College officials.
Cypress College student Mango, who runs the Caceres club on campus, was the first to speak. She stated that she is protesting in support of Salim and eventually read a statement from an anonymous student. The student criticized Cypress College for not putting forth “a statement of solidarity”, and eventually went on to say that campus officials have no idea what they are doing. It was also said that Salim was “asked to stay silent” and was not allowed to explain the context of the assignment.
Other students protesting outside the meeting said Professor Salim is being made to look like the villain, while Ellis is depicted as the victim. Some feel that she is being targeted for being a “queer, Muslim woman of color”. It was also said students should not be allowed to record class lectures or discussions.
Liz Sanchez, an adjunct professor at Fullerton College, said she feels unsafe in the North Orange County Community College District. Sanchez stated that she has had conversations with other adjunct professors like Salim in which they describe resistance from the administration when they speak out. Sanchez said she is fearful she will find herself in the position of Salim one day.
“I should be able to have conversations with students no matter if we have different experiences or ideologies,” Sanchez said. She went on to explain adjunct professors struggle to get by.
As the meeting got underway, comments from the community began. Brittany Rodriguez said “We demand a public apology to Professor Faryha Salim and an opportunity to speak her side and clear her name…” many shared the same sentiments and believe Cypress owes it to Salim to give her a platform to clear her name publicly.
Toward the end of the meeting, board members got to comment on current situation and Cypress College President JoAnna Schilling said “The choice to have Salim go on leave was for safety not disciplinary.” She went on to say all tough decisions that have been made in recent weeks were for the safety of faculty and students alike.
In a statement issued May 7, Cypress College said “we have done the right thing for the right reasons. In this case, the right thing has been honoring the request of the faculty member in the video to protect her identity for her own safety. The decision to remove her from the classroom was done to protect her safety, maintain her confidentiality, and mitigate attacks from those who sought to threaten her as well as the students in her class.”
Cypress College President, Dr. Schilling added in a letter, “The actions we took were always focused on protecting the safety and well-being of our campus community, and specifically the adjunct faculty member and other faculty who were misidentified on social media, and out of concern for our students and staff. Our communications staff actively monitored our social media accounts and reported and removed threats and identifying information, and they continue to do so.”
This story has been updated to add additional reporting