Native American Studies lecturer Oscar Monge has claimed San Diego State University’s Aztec mascot is racist, but a new state investigation has found that Monge himself has used racist slanders against white, black and Native American students at the school.
Monge is described by the San Diego Union-Tribune as a Native-American Chicano who called one of his students, Crystal Sudano, a “white savior,” and referred to at least one prominent black student at the university as an “Uncle Tom.” The report stated that the term “white savior “is “sometimes used to refer to a white person who hides their racism by helping minorities.”
Monge reportedly sent at least 15 Facebook messages to Sudano, who was enrolled in his Native American studies class. The lecturer’s alleged discrimination against Sudano persisted to the point that she stopped attending, then withdrew from his class, and filed a complaint with SDSU that claimed four counts of harassment and discrimination, according to the news report. The university passed the case on to the California Attorney General’s office.
The California AG’s office investigated and released its finding in a 51-page report on the case December 20. The investigation found three of Sudano’s four claims true. One of those counts included the confirmation that Monge had threatened to lower Sudano’s grade in retaliation against the student.
The Daily Aztec, SDSU’s student paper, listed the four claims as: discrimination on the basis of a disability, “discrimination based on race, racial harassment and retaliation.” The latter three were found to be true. The report identified Supervising Deputy Attorney General Christine Mersten as the investigator on the case, noting that she had conducted 14 interviews over the course of the six-month-long investigation. Monge and Sudano had communicated before they became professor and student.
The report did find, according to the Union Ttribune, “All in all, Monge uses ‘white’ whenever he wishes to explain someone who has done something wrong, or bad.”.
The comments and messages from Monge to Sudano also included calling black student Chimezie Ebiriekwe an “Uncle Tom,” passing it off as something other students had called Ebiriekwe. Monge also disparaged some members of the Native American Student Association as ignorant, and the student government as “damned white.” The report identified members of the student government as being from a variety of racial and ethnic groups.
Follow Michelle Moons on Twitter @MichelleDiana