A lecturer at San Diego State University was found to have discriminated and retaliated against a student because she was white, a six-month investigation by the California Department of Justice discovered.
The investigation concluded that lecturer Oscar “Ozzie” Monge, who is Native American, had an argument with then-student Crystal Sudano, who is white, after she challenged his thesis on the school’s Aztec mascot, the school newspaper The Daily Aztec reported.
“The first of which — that Monge discriminated against Sudano on the basis of a disability — was found to not be supported by the evidence. However, the final three — discrimination based on race, racial harassment and retaliation — were,” according to the Aztec.
But the harassment over her critique of his thesis was not the first time the two butted heads:
In 2011, Sudano organized protest rallies and participated in the “Occupy” movement, the report said. Monge introduced himself to Sudano in a Facebook post, and the two sporadically communicated over a period of a few years.
They ran into each other again outside of a professor’s office in spring 2016. During this encounter, Sudano said Monge referred to her T-shirt — which bore a stylized SDSU logo with a spear through it — as “racist.”
She signed up for his class the following semester as a late add, with her first day of class on Feb. 7, 2017.
Immediately before Sudano enrolled in the class, she and Monge had a Facebook interaction in which Monge said his effort to remove the Aztec mascot from SDSU was being hampered by a lack of support from Native American students.
Monge sent Sudano at least 15 harassing Facebook messages after she challenged his thesis.
In one he said “all you need is 1 Native (American) student to say they love Aztecs and out it goes. I can provide 1000 white students who agree, but they’ll focus on the 1 ignorant native who doesn’t.”
In another, he explained that the Native American Student Alliance did not back his thesis because “a couple of white students who are members, who apparently have great grandmothers tgat (sic) are Cherokee Princesses (sic).”
Monge also criticized the school’s Associated Students because of its whiteness.
“The AS is something else that confuses me … the way it’s structured, the way it runs And (sic) how damned white it is,” he said.
Sudan argued, saying that “The idea is that EVERYONE no matter ho (sic) low on the totem pole you are, shared governance is what gives the lowest man the right to share his opinion and for that opinion to be heard.”
Monge told her not to use the term “totem pole” and went on to refer to other students as “Uncle Toms” and “Frat Bros and Sorority Sisters … who do not easily empathize with non-whiteness.”
Monge blocked her Facebook after the two continued to argue, but first he threatened to change her grade as revenge.
“Monge retaliated against Sudano … after she complained to [him] about his discriminatory and harassing conduct, and appeared to undermine Monge’s thesis in the mascot resolution debate. Monge told Sudano that her grade would be lowered, ultimately causing her to seek a constructive withdrawal from [his] class,” the investigation discovered, according to the Aztec.
“The messages Monge sent to Sudano demonstrate that Monge has an animus against white people” and “Monge uses ‘white’ whenever he wishes to explain someone who has done something wrong, or bad.”
In his letter to investigators, Monge made no secret about his anger against white people.
“It is quite easy to argue that ‘whiteness’ is synonymous with evil,” he wrote.
The university issued a statement on the matter, but did not get into specifics due to privacy concerns.
“San Diego State University 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 on campus, and takes allegations of misconduct by any member of the campus community very seriously,” it said. “The university responds to all reports of alleged violations by members of the campus community, and takes appropriate action to prevent, investigate, correct or discipline such conduct. San Diego State University does not discuss pending matters due to privacy rights of all parties involved and to protect the integrity of the review process.”