SBCC Official Returning After N-Word Controversy

Lyndsay Maas Has Been on Unpaid Leave Since November

Lyndsay Maas
Courtesy Photo

Vice President of Business Services Lyndsay Maas will be returning to Santa Barbara City College Campus on Friday after her unpaid leave since late November. Maas was called on to resign by students, staff, and faculty after she used the unabbreviated n-word during a gender and equity meeting. When students disclosed they were being called “the n-word” on campus, Maas said the word in full. The college’s handling of the incident further outraged the campus.

Initially, City College President Anthony Beebe addressed only part of the campus population, and students, staff, and faculty equated that to a cover-up. Campus members also criticized Maas’s failure to immediately apologize to black students, faculty, and staff. Since then, Beebe has sent a number of campus-wide emails and apologies.

On Tuesday, Beebe sent an email informing the campus that Maas had decided to return to the college, with few details about her position. The email listed the anti-racism efforts the college administration has made since the incident, and emphasized the anti-racism work “goes way beyond any single individual or any single incident.” In a statement sent to the Independent, Maas said, “I thoroughly support the College’s existing and any newly announced programs related to anti-racism, equity and inclusion. These initiatives are of vital importance.”

Akil Hill, a black staff member at SBCC, described Maas’s return to campus as “utterly disrespectful.” It sets a precedent, said Hill. “It opens up Pandora’s box to argue the context the word was used in.” Hill expressed frustration with the college for allowing Maas to return. “There have been instances where people have said things, and [SBCC] terminated them and paid them out,” said Hill. “It’s contrary to past practices,” said Hill. “People who are marginalized just have to swallow it.”

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