Home>Articles>Bakersfield College History Professor Sues CA Community Colleges over DEIA Teaching Mandates

Bakersfield College. (Photo: bakersfieldcollege.edu)

Bakersfield College History Professor Sues CA Community Colleges over DEIA Teaching Mandates

The DEIA ‘competencies’ are so stringent they sound like something from a cult

By Evan Gahr, August 10, 2023 11:04 am

Diversity equity and inclusion can be a remarkably exclusionary philosophy that leaves no room for dissent from its often tyrannical dictates.

As the California Globe reported last month, a woman is suing the corporate behemoth Compass USA, Inc. because they fired her for refusing to participate in a “diversity” program that excluded white males.

Now, Bakersfield College history professor Daymon Johnson is suing his school and the California Community Colleges Chancellor for forcing him to espouse very woke diversity, equity and inclusion principles in his classroom, in violation of his First Amendment Rights.

The California Community Colleges Chancellor’s office  recently issued new rules saying that “Faculty members shall employ teaching, learning, and professional practices that reflect DEIA [diversity equity inclusion and accessibility] and anti-racist principles” and that schools should “place significant emphasis on DEIA competencies in employee evaluation and tenure review.”

His lawsuit says that “Professor Johnson cannot satisfy DEIA standards based on the state Chancellor’s DEIA competencies without violating his conscience and surrendering his academic freedom. Almost everything Professor Johnson teaches violates the new DEIA requirements—not just by failing to advance the DEIA and anti-racist ideologies, but also by criticizing them.”

Instead of making everything about race he wants to follow “classical pedagogy that stresses the study of “truth, goodness, and beauty,” his federal lawsuit says.

The lawsuit was filed in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of California.

Since 1993, Johnson has been a history professor at Bakersfield College, a community college in Bakersfield, California.  His lawsuit says that Johnson fears he will be fired for expressing his conservative-leaning opinions and the school’s new diversity dictates require adopting a woke worldview that he does not share.

The DEIA “competencies” that California is requiring community college professors to espouse are so stringent they sound like something from a cult.  Competency means a professor “Promotes and incorporates DEI and anti-racist pedagogy. And he or she also “Develops and implements a pedagogy and/or curriculum that promotes a race-conscious and intersectional lens.”

And the competent professor must articulate “the importance and impact of DEI and anti-racism as part of the institution’s greater mission.”

And it sounds like there is lots of self-flagellation required in which people label themselves bigoted.  You are required to take part in a “continuous cycle of self-assessment of one’s growth and commitment to DEI and acknowledgement of any internalized personal biases and racial superiority or inferiority.”

In other words, you have to call yourself a bigot.

The ideal professor also contributes to “DEI and anti-racism research and scholarship” and “advocates for and advances DEI and anti-racist goals and initiatives.”

The lawsuit says all of these dictates are forcing Johnson to take positions he disagrees with–essentially conscripted speech–in violation of the First Amendment. They force orthodoxy on professors instead of allowing academic freedom to flourish like it should on a college campus.

“These demands that faculty subscribe to and advance a particular creed or political ideology as a condition of maintaining their employment and ability to fully participate in school affairs are inconsistent with the mission of a public college. These demands are unconstitutional on their face and as applied against Professor Johnson, as they contradict the First Amendment’s guarantees of free speech and petition by punishing the expression of dissenting viewpoints and trampling over faculty’s right of academic freedom. The First Amendment guarantees Professor Johnson’s right to express himself in opposition to Defendants’ goal of advancing “diversity, equity, inclusion, and accessibility” and anti-racism ideologies.”

The lawsuit argues that the First Amendment forbids the school from telling Johnson what to say.  “The First Amendment guarantees Professor Johnson’s right to reject Defendants’ vision of “embracing diversity,” including the tenets of anti-racist ideology—without fear of official retribution, and without having his performance evaluated based on the degree to which he advances Defendants’ preferred ideology. Professor Johnson is entitled to refrain from practicing, promoting or advocating these concepts in any way whatsoever, including in his teaching at Bakersfield College. Professor Johnson is entitled to refuse the incorporation of Defendants’ DEIA and anti-racism ideologies into his pedagogy and curriculum.

Johnson is a free thinker.

The lawsuit explains that,  “Professor Johnson does not wish to engage in any DEIA “self-reflection,” which it likens to the practices of a cult. “He does not want to “[e]ngage[] in self-assessment of [his] own commitment to DEI and internal biases,” id., because he rejects DEI and the concept of internal bias, and he does not wish to “seek[] opportunities for growth to acknowledge and address the harm caused by internal biases and behavior,” id., because he objects to these demands, which he views as religious-like and little more than neo-Marxist re-education on race.”

Moreover, “Professor Johnson does not wish to “[u]se[] data to uncover inequitable outcomes measured through equity-mindedness that calls out racialized patterns in the data, policies, and practices to inform strategies to improve equitable student outcomes and success,” id., because he fundamentally disagree with “equity-mindedness” and the Defendants’ vision of what is “equitable.”

He also rejects the premises of the anti-racist philosophy, which depicts all whites and society as hopelessly racist and  blacks as hapless victims lacking individual autonomy.  “Professor Johnson does not wish to “[p]romote[] and contribute[] to a diverse, inclusive, and anti-racist environment for students, colleagues, and community members,”  because he rejects Defendants’ anti-racism ideology which he believes is based on demagoguery and sheer ignorance of empirical data.”

“Professor Johnson’s conscience does not allow him to believe in and practice the “antiracism” ideology as required by [the California Community Colleges Chancellor]. He does not believe that racism is pervasive and systemically embedded into all societal structures – particularly Bakersfield College – and thus he does not wish to challenge the values, structures, policies, and behaviors that, according to others, allegedly perpetuate systemic racism.”

Johnson has already been targeted by the school, the lawsuit says. He was investigated for months for harassment because he objected online to another professor’s puerile Facebook post that said “Maybe Trump’s comment about shithole countries was a statement of projection because honestly, the US is a fucking piece of shit nation.”

The lawsuit says Johnson is already scared to speak his mind because another professor was recently fired for using the term “cultural Marxism” in a critical way and for criticizing the reign of woke orthodoxy at Bakersfield College.  “Johnson refrains from speaking and has altered his speech for fear of further investigation, discipline, and termination by” the school, the lawsuit contends.

Johnson is being represented by lawyer Alan Gura at the Institute for Free Speech in Washington, DC.  Gura said in a statement that “No American should be subjected to repressive, unconstitutional rules that compel speech, intimidate dissenters, and ruin careers purely based on a refusal to advance and conform to a state’s political ideology.”

When asked for further comment Gura referred the California Globe back to the lawsuit.

Bakersfield College Interim President Steve Watkin did not reply to a request for comment.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email
Spread the news:


4 thoughts on “Bakersfield College History Professor Sues CA Community Colleges over DEIA Teaching Mandates

  1. Any comment from incoming California Community Colleges Chancellor Sonya Christian? As president of Bakersfield College from 2013-2021 and chancellor of the Kern Community College District from 2021-2023, she was fully engaged with the policies Professor Johnson is addressing in his lawsuit.

  2. “Put a label on the trash can that says, ‘Applicants from Bakersfield College’. Thank you.”

  3. This lawsuit is poorly-advised. He is an employee, and is being paid to teach what his employer wants him to teach. A better complaint would have been hostile workplace environment.

  4. How about the fact that it is all a lie? and the Government is forcing it on the State? This has been gradually been introduced over the last 40 years, just a little at a time. Like Dalton Trumbo said he put a little communism in his scripts, not enough to beat you over the head with but enough to make you think on it. Well here we are now, an entire School System preaching anti-Americanism to a new generation, raised to hate the Republic and it’s history.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *