Students held a silent protest at Thursday’s Santa Barbara City College Board of Trustees meeting in response to Vice President of Business Services Lyndsay Maas returning to campus after using a racial slur.
Paul Wellman

For just under two hours, the Santa Barbara City College board meeting Thursday evening was largely silent. More than two dozen speakers signed up for public comment regarding Vice President of Business Services Lyndsay Maas’s return to campus. Maas was placed on unpaid leave in late November for using a racial slur during a gender and equity meeting. However, rather than express outrage, speakers chose to remain silent for their allotted five minutes. Speakers held signs reading “Students Against Injustice,” and some walked to the board trustees to display their signs, the silence occasionally interrupted by stomping.

To begin the two hours of silence, students stood behind boardmembers, holding signs and occasionally stomping. Student Tiani Mora, a member of the Black Student Union, college leadership, and the UMOJA program, was the first speaker, and she communicated to the board the students’ intentions behind the protest. “I think it’s pretty clear that all of you are a little bit uncomfortable,” said Mora, addressing the boardmembers surrounded by students. “What we’re doing today is letting you know. … You make us feel uncomfortable every single day.” She continued, “We are silent-protesting because you silence us.”

The protest was preceded by three public comments by women who were requesting the Pledge of Allegiance be reinstated into board meetings. The Pledge of Allegiance has not been scheduled on the agenda for the last two meetings. The first speaker was heckled by some of the protesters. Because the speaker was interrupted, Trustee Craig Nielsen moved the meeting be adjourned, but the motion did not pass.