San Diego State lecturer made racist comments, investigation finds

A San Diego State lecturer who has complained that the school’s use of the Aztec mascot is racist made disparaging remarks about whites, blacks and Native Americans to a student, triggering an investigation that concluded the teacher believes all white people are bad.

In a Dec. 20 report, the California attorney general’s office said Oscar Monge sent at least 15 offensive Facebook messages to Crystal Sudano last year, when she was a student in his Native American studies class.

Monge, who is Native American and Chicano, referred to Sudano, who is white, as a “white savior” — a term sometimes used to refer to a white person who hides his or her racism by helping minorities.

“All in all,” the report said, “Monge uses ‘white’ whenever he wishes to explain someone who has done something wrong, or bad. Indeed, in an essay to the investigator, Monge wrote, ‘It is quite easy to argue that “whiteness” is synonymous with evil.’ ”

Monge’s Facebook comments and other behavior led Sudano to withdraw from his class. She then filed a complaint with San Diego State, alleging four counts of discrimination and harassment. The case was turned over to the attorney general’s office, which found three of the allegations were true, including the charge that Monge threatened to lower Sudano’s grade in retaliation.

The Union-Tribune was unable to reach Monge for comment. He was quoted in the report as saying he is not racist.

The report said Monge’s boss, Native American studies chair David Kamper, recommended that Monge stop talking to students on Facebook because it is inappropriate, and so were some of the things that he said.

Kamper also suggested that Monge watch an online video to get suggestions on how to discuss diversity and racism with students, the report said.

The university would not say whether Monge, who joined the faculty in 2014, will be further disciplined or fired.

In a statement, the campus said it “is committed to creating a learning environment where everyone is treated with respect and dignity. The university prohibits discriminatory behavior and harassment of any kind of campus, and takes allegations of misconduct by any member of the campus community very seriously.”

Monge and Sudano have until mid-January to appeal the report’s findings.

Robbins writes for the San Diego Union-Tribune.

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