On Thursday, the San Francisco Board of Education voted to remove Vice President Alison Collins from all leadership positions following the discovery of racist tweets she had posted in 2016.
In a 5-2 decision, the school board approved a resolution of no confidence against Collins, stripping her of her vice presidency and her position on all committees for the rest of her term.
Collins has been facing increased pressure to resign since last weekend when racist tweets she had made in 2016 were brought back into a light by a group looking to recall her, and other school board members. Among the tweets she sent out said that Asian Americans had “used white supremacist thinking to assimilate get ahead,” compared Asian Americans to “House n——s”, and said that she was looking to “combat anti-black racism in the Asian community” at her daughters’ “mostly Asian Am school.”
The resurfaced tweets brought in a firestorm against Collins in the last week, with many San Franciscans, including many former supporters, calling for her to resign. Prominent lawmakers also have called for her resignation, including Mayor London Breed and Assembly Members David Chiu (D-San Francisco) and Phil Ting (D-San Francisco). Two of those calling for her to resign, School Board Commissioners Jenny Lam and Faauuga Moliga, even wrote the resolution to remove Collins from her leadership positions.
“We are outraged and sickened by the racist, anti-Asian statements tweeted by School Board Vice President Alison Collins that recently came to light,” said Breed, Chiu, Ting, and other city leaders in a statement calling for Collins’ resignation last Saturday. “No matter the time, no matter the place, and no matter how long ago the tweets were written, there is no place for an elected leader in San Francisco who is creating and/or created hate statements and speeches.”
Despite some San Franciscans and lawmakers still defending Collins during the week, including school board president Gabriela Lopez, and Collins herself apologizing while at the same time putting the blame partially on former President Donald Trump, it was not enough to spare Collins from being voted against on Thursday.
“For many in the city, Thursday’s vote didn’t go far enough,” San Francisco-based policy advisor Sharon Burke told the Globe on Friday. “But, also for many, it went too far. To many in the city, especially Asian Americans, she had said some blatantly racist things in those tweets. But others saw some truth in them too, especially the whole ‘model minority’ thing.”
“But the calls for her to resign remain strong. So even if she doesn’t resign she is almost assuredly not being reelected. Not in a city with a high Asian American population and not in a culture that doesn’t forgive or forget these things. If she does attempt to run again this will be immediately brought up. No question. Resignation supporters might not have seen her go yesterday, but she is now all but a lame duck in a much lower position there after all that happened this week. Supporters for her to stay won in a way, but considering the damage it has done to her and will come back to bite her if she decides to run again, it’s more of a pyrrhic victory.”
Calls for Collins’ resignation are expected to continue this weekend despite Thursday’s vote stripping her powers. The controversy is also expected to help fuel the active recall attempt against her and other board members. As of Friday a new board vice president has not been chosen.
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