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City College Air: Discrimination on Campus


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By Beck Kilkenny

English faculty Shannon Gibney received a letter of reprimand last weekend after a debate about structural racism in her Intro to Mass Communications class became too heated. This is the latest development in a string of incidences on campus regarding race, education and community effecting the student body. We talked with Gibney about the incident, and spoke with the new Executive Director of Diversity, Dr. Whitney Harris on his perception of MCTC’s cultural climate.

51 Comments

51 Responses to “City College Air: Discrimination on Campus”

  1. CSB on November 7th, 2013 9:34 am

    This is just bad journalism, folks.

    Any kernel of truth in Gibney’s words is negated by how completely one-sided this is.

  2. Jea on November 7th, 2013 1:50 pm

    This is totally unacceptable that MCTC would reprimand a professor for teaching about racism! Students of color feel isolated most of the time due to structural racism. This situation gives light to the racial climate of this academic institution. Race matters and we need to teach about this.

  3. Kywul on November 7th, 2013 2:43 pm

    “The sign of a truly totalitarian culture is that important truths simply lack cognitive meaning and are interpretable only at the level of “Fuck You”, so they can then elicit a perfectly predictable torrent of abuse in response. We’ve long ago reached that level.” — Noam Chomsky

  4. An Open Letter to the Three White Men that Complained about Discussing Structural Racism | Ryan Williams-Virden on November 9th, 2013 12:39 am

    […] deciding what qualifies as ethnic are… yup they are white! We must talk about it because your asinine complaint was actually taken seriously and could cost Professor Gibney her […]

  5. On Power and History: Five False Equivalencies | Opine Season on November 11th, 2013 6:02 am

    […] this to an educational institution reprimanding an educator who dared to have a discussion about racism in her class. Whether or not you use the word […]

  6. Carol Logie on November 11th, 2013 10:27 am

    Dr. Harris seems to be saying that discrimination is just a collection of individual experiences that have little connection to the broader oppression of people based on their cultural characteristics. I have to be honest: if this is our new director of diversity, I don’t see the ball moving very far on this. I personally witnessed a teacher (white male) in one of my classes berate a Native American fellow student who was having trouble with a complicated lesson by saying “It’s right there in plain english.” I was shocked and I should have said something. But instructors have all the power, it’s hard to speak up.

    I’m an older student at MCTC, and my age is remarked upon in class by instructors more than I would like. But I don’t file a grievance because my feelings are hurt. I sometimes have a hard time feeling like I fit in, and I’m on the extremely privileged end of the scale. I can only imagine what students and faculty of color experience here.

    A Mass Communication class can and should touch on racism and white privilege. I would expect nothing less at the college level, and if young white men are feeling uncomfortable, then maybe they are getting the point (finally). It’s all around us. We live in an age where Home Depot thinks it’s ok to post a racist photo on Twitter (look it up). Extremely disappointed in Bollman’s reprimand of a faculty member for sticking to what should be a core principle in any college level class: to stretch understanding, and yes, make people think about their place in this society. Who benefits, and who does not?

  7. A Bi-Polar Campus | City College News on November 15th, 2013 7:01 am

    […] This letter is a response to City College Air: Discrimination on Campus […]

  8. MCTC instructor: I was reprimanded for how I handled a discrimination debate | On Campus | Minnesota Public Radio News on November 25th, 2013 8:38 am

    […] to a news video by City College News, 38-year-old Shannon Gibney was leading a class discussion about structural racism during her Intro […]

  9. Minneapolis Community and Technical College on November 25th, 2013 6:12 pm

    Thank you all for your truly thoughtful input and conversations following this story. MCTC has composed a response which can be read at http://www.minneapolis.edu/response.

  10. MCTC prof reprimanded for alienating white students during structural racism discussion - Stormfront on December 2nd, 2013 2:28 pm

    […] reprimand came after three white male students complained that they felt singled out by Gibney. In a video interview with City College News, Gibney gives her version of what happened during her controversial structural racism […]

  11. Mary Francis Galloway on December 2nd, 2013 8:42 pm

    it is too bad students in college have to act like they did as kids in high school. I hope this doesn’t stop Prof Gibney from teaching structure racism. What Carol Logie wrote I totally agree with. I work at a Fortune 500 company that is run and managed by 80% white men. I see people of color and women passed over year after year for promotion, and others are blind to seeing it or acknowledging it. I wish my co-workers had a class in structure racism and maybe they would see what I see every day. I see coworkers having to be 2x as good, or work 2x has hard to get kudos for their work. It is too bad that these males students didn’t try to see what they would learn from her class instead of getting uncomfortable and crying to mama.

  12. Tuesday Reads: Are Things Really As Bad As I Think? | Sky Dancing on December 3rd, 2013 9:41 am

    […] to Gibney in an interview with City College News, a white male student asked her, “Why do we have to talk about this in every class? Why do we […]

  13. Offense-ive weapons on December 3rd, 2013 11:31 am

    […] described the incident in her Introduction to Mass Communications this way in a video interview with the student newspaper, the City College News: “[The white, male student asked] ‘Why do we […]

  14. Ewa Kucharska on December 3rd, 2013 2:57 pm

    hopefully one day Shannon Gibney will go with her racism too far and will lose her job.

  15. Black College Instructor Claims She Was Punished For Discussing Racism | NewsCenterd on December 3rd, 2013 3:04 pm

    […] Gibney, an English faculty member at Minneapolis Community and Technical College, told MCTC student newspaper City College News in a video interview that three white students filed a complaint against her with the school after a discussion on […]

  16. Black female professor reprimanded for pointing out existence of structural racism to white male students | Alternative News Alert! on December 3rd, 2013 3:29 pm

    […] to Gibney in an interview with City College News, a white male student asked her, “Why do we have to talk about this in every class? Why do we […]

  17. Vadge Sinclair on December 3rd, 2013 5:57 pm

    I wish teachers would stop trying to be celebrities and instead put the children first. From what I’ve read racism is not in the course outline in this case. And if it were there is a way to teach racism without making students feel defensive or making them combative. We need to keep all students, black, white, male and female in class so they get a decent education, and teachers like the one mentioned here are doing her students a serious disservice.

  18. Black College Instructor Claims She Was Punished For Discussing Racism | Accident Victims Alliance | 502-333-0012 on December 3rd, 2013 6:17 pm

    […] Gibney, an English faculty member at Minneapolis Community and Technical College, told MCTC student newspaper City College News in a video interview that three white students filed a complaint against her with the school after a discussion on […]

  19. Black College Instructor Claims She Was Punished For Discussing Racism | Political Ration on December 3rd, 2013 9:35 pm

    […] Gibney, an English faculty member at Minneapolis Community and Technical College, told MCTC student newspaper City College News in a video interview that three white students filed a complaint against her with the school after a discussion on […]

  20. Mark TenPas on December 3rd, 2013 10:42 pm

    If a white professor spent every class in Introduction to Communication talking about the negative impacts of say, illegal immigration, Israel, the Bush administration, abortion, or some other subject, and did that all of the time (allegedly), and made students uncomfortable, what should happen?

    Let’s take the race part out of this for a second. In a politics or racial studies class, this subject absolutely belongs in there all the time. In an introductory communications class, structured racism seems like a very specific issue to be spending multiple classes on, and it’s making at least some students uncomfortable that so much emphasis would be placed on it.

  21. Brian Anthis on December 3rd, 2013 10:42 pm

    A must watch world class documentary on race… http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/shows/divided/etc/view.html

  22. College reprimands black professor for racial harassment of white students | Liberty Unyielding on December 4th, 2013 9:44 am

    […] defended herself in an interview with City College Air, an online student publication. In a video peppered with sympathetic text screens, she […]

  23. College disciplines black professor for racial harassment of white students | Conservative Firing LineConservative Firing Line on December 4th, 2013 9:46 am

    […] defended herself in an interview with City College Air, an online student publication. In a video peppered with sympathetic text screens (view […]

  24. Anonymous on December 4th, 2013 6:51 pm

    […] […]

  25. Donald A. Mc Farland on December 4th, 2013 10:42 pm

    I’m sick of these Commieprog affirmative action liberals playing the race card everytime someone kicks their racebaiting/poverty pimp crap in the gutter.

  26. Arcangelo 'Cisco' Cocco on December 4th, 2013 10:58 pm

    Only whites are racist. this professor proves otherwise. She is Blatantly racist. It’s a shame she indoctrinates, er, “teaches” our children.

  27. White students fed up with black professor’s racial screeds, lawsuits fly | The American Reality on December 5th, 2013 3:27 am

    […] Why do we have to talk about this?” according to Gibney’s account of the incident, which was recorded by the City College […]

  28. Matthew Baker on December 5th, 2013 8:12 am

    She’s an arrogant, ignorant spoiled brat that is taking her position to be an activist. If she wants to be an activist, leave the teaching profession and get a job with the Obama administration. I’m proud of the students that filed against her.

  29. RACISM 101: MEET SHANNON GIBNEY, SHE HAS ISSUES! - Angry White Dude on December 5th, 2013 2:40 pm

    […] Read about this video here: […]

  30. Ginny Soules on December 5th, 2013 3:12 pm

    Basically this class is to teach students how to communicate by writing and advertising. By using the internet and as a prerequisite for working in the field of newspaper reporting and magazines. What the hell does her view on racism have to do with this class? If someone can logically explain that to me I’d appreciate it. Right now all I see is a woman who is so hung up on race that she’s not teaching her class properly.

  31. Ginny Soules on December 5th, 2013 3:12 pm

    Basically this class is to teach students how to communicate by writing and advertising. By using the internet and as a prerequisite for working in the field of newspaper reporting and magazines. What the hell does her view on racism have to do with this class? If someone can logically explain that to me I’d appreciate it. Right now all I see is a woman who is so hung up on race that she’s not teaching her class properly.

  32. White students fed up with black professor’s racial screeds, lawsuits ensue | European Independant Media Centre on December 5th, 2013 8:14 pm

    […] Why do we have to talk about this?” according to Gibney’s account of the incident, which was recorded by the City College […]

  33. Shaun Behrens on December 6th, 2013 12:05 pm

    OFCOURSE IT WAS DEFENSIVE!! We should first cover the fact that a teacher should be able to handle being put on the spot and still being able to answer questions. We should continue by covering the fact that she is doing this in a class that has NOTHING to do with what she is discussing. These students are there to learn about specific things. You can’t change the class. They signed up for one set of classes and for this dumb bitch to teach something that is not a part of that class is ridiculous.

  34. 5 Responses to “Discrimination on Campus” | City College News on December 6th, 2013 12:06 pm

    […] weeks ago we posted a video about claims of racial discrimination from white, male students against Prof. Shannon Gibney after […]

  35. White Students take Lecture, “Whiteness as a System of Oppression” Personally | Politisite on December 6th, 2013 3:14 pm

    […] In a video interview with City College News, Gibney said she told Mass Communications students she was talking about “whiteness as a system of oppression,” but they took it personally. […]

  36. Debbie Jay on December 6th, 2013 5:27 pm

    Love her SOLID Irish name :Shannon Gibney

  37. Community College Spotlight | Racism talk leads to reprimand on December 9th, 2013 9:20 am

    […] In a video interview with City College News, Gibney said she told Mass Communications students she was talking about “whiteness as a system of oppression,” but they took it personally. […]

  38. Mark Bennington on December 9th, 2013 12:42 pm

    Boo Hoo, the poor black oppressed college professor. She is a free person, unfortunately for her, her mind is a prisoner of her own perception of bias. She was born about 180 years too late.

  39. William G. Abraham on December 10th, 2013 7:27 am

    What a hideous individual this woman is.

  40. Alex Gianola on December 11th, 2013 11:57 am

    I moved to Minneapolis from Chicago about 2 years ago. I was taking classes in Chicago, but found the community college environment to not be enriching and the students were not united. I love walking through the doors of MCTC and being part of a cultural melting pot. What a rare opportunity to collaborate with people from all over the globe.

    It saddens me that one person who decided to bring her personal matters to a Mass Communication class has created this public persona. I have my BA is Mass Communication and our curriculum did not include institutional racism. Maybe it’s different at MCTC but I doubt it.

    For those of you reading this story not a part of the MCTC community, this is NOT A REPRESENTATION OF THIS INSTITUTION.

    Thank you for reading this and good luck with finals!

  41. Who Decides What is Academic Freedom? /  The Ave on December 23rd, 2013 12:00 pm

    […] in an interview with Beck Kilkenny of City College News, the campus newspaper, Gibney said she’s the one being treated […]

  42. Dwane Tansy on May 25th, 2014 1:12 pm

    “Have you ever seen or heard anybody babbling about privilege that has any kind of track record of success? I didn’t become a partner in a law firm because my great-great-great grandfather came over from Bavaria, okay? I started out mopping-out stalls at McDonalds. On the military side, I didn’t become a full-Colonel because somebody liked my skin tone. I started out as a Private 27 years ago this Tuesday.

    All of us have worked; all of us have achieved something and that’s how we measure character; that’s how we measure what the value of a person is. Not some arbitrary category imposed by some ponytailed grad students who’ve taken too many gender studies seminars.”

    ~ Army Colonel Kurt Schlichter ~

  43. Dwane Tansy on May 25th, 2014 1:12 pm

    “Have you ever seen or heard anybody babbling about privilege that has any kind of track record of success? I didn’t become a partner in a law firm because my great-great-great grandfather came over from Bavaria, okay? I started out mopping-out stalls at McDonalds. On the military side, I didn’t become a full-Colonel because somebody liked my skin tone. I started out as a Private 27 years ago this Tuesday.

    All of us have worked; all of us have achieved something and that’s how we measure character; that’s how we measure what the value of a person is. Not some arbitrary category imposed by some ponytailed grad students who’ve taken too many gender studies seminars.”

    ~ Army Colonel Kurt Schlichter ~

  44. Hunter James on May 26th, 2014 5:27 am

    Scum cunt!!!

  45. Anonymous on May 27th, 2014 8:57 am

    I have a bit of a different viewpoint on this because I’m a 46 year old white male who’s spent quite a bit of the last 29 years living and working overseas. Six and a half years of that time was spent living and working in Nigeria. The average Nigerian laughs at the ignorance, arrogance, and naivete of many American “blacks” from whom Dr. Gibney could be considered a poster-child. (And who, FYI, most black Africans do NOT consider to actually be black, but “mixed”.) Most black Africans will freely admit that blacks are not only CAPABLE of being racists, but are – on average – far MORE racist than most whites. They will also admit that, on average, blacks (both in Africa and US/Canada/UK) treat each other FAR worse than whites treat them. My friend Kuda from Zimbabwe (whom I went to college with in Texas and who was so dark Texas blacks called him “The Tar Baby”) says neither he nor his friends hesitated to work in S.Africa under Apartheid because the white S.Africans treated them better than the black people in power in Zimbabwe did. (As an aside, my Nisea friend (Issea actually, as he was actually born in Japan and came to the US at about 8) will tell you, many Japanese are actually FAR more racist than any American can imagine, they e even consider him to be “fully human” because he was raised outside of Japan.)
    Net result 1) those who are calling her a spoiled, arrogant, brat who is – whether she thinks of herself that way or not – in her own way every bit as racist as David Duke are correct. (She and he are, in fact, flip sides of the same coin. Think about it a minute.)
    2) Those who are saying that the constant racist theme has no place in a an English (or Mass Communications) class are equally correct.

  46. Anonymous on May 27th, 2014 9:42 am

    I forgot to mention below: Dr. Gibney, I’m more than willing to have an open debate with you on this issue, if you wish to do so.

  47. Anonymous on May 28th, 2014 6:27 am

    For some reason, my post went way down in the order. I’m not cut and pasting it here, as it’s still posted below, but the net summary is: Racism is a 2 way street. I lived in Nigeria for 6-1/2 years and traveled all over Africa. Most African blacks both freely admit that blacks are usually more racist than non-blacks AND look down their noses at most American blacks, whom they consider to be spoiled, pampered, coddled, and naive. (Their words, not mine.)

    FYI: Most Africans (be they black or white or in between) would NOT consider Dr. Gibney to be black herself. I’m not saying she can’t make that claim (she can call herself whatever she likes) I’m saying they wouldn’t consider her to be.

    PS: I myself have been labeled as “SEVERELY non PC or conforming” and, in that light, would like to offer her the following hard-learned advice: “Calling the management where you are working vindictive and dysfunctional” and adding “…something needs to be done” could very well become a self-fulfilling prophecy, but not in the way she hopes. (I lost a job that way.)

  48. Matt Lewis on May 28th, 2014 11:57 am

    This Gibney chick, holy shit! That is one racist bitch. I love diversity lets teach that, not that the reason why your life sucks is because some white guy has it better than you. All that does is foster hate and resentment. We will never become “one” as a society as long as we have teachers feeding peoples minds with this garbage. Why not discuss the fact that blacks sold blacks to whites or that the first slave owner in America was black. Kinda pisses on the whole white people are to blame shit doesn’t it.

  49. Davis rescinds Gibney’s reprimand | City College News on June 2nd, 2014 2:14 pm

    […] reprimand, involving two white male students, accused Gibney of discriminating against them during a class […]

  50. Yamil A. Rodriguez on June 2nd, 2014 2:57 pm

    She is no racist! Some people just have issues with a ever-changing America.

  51. Our most viewed stories of 2014 | City College News on January 9th, 2015 11:57 am

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City College Air: Discrimination on Campus