The president of Prescott College condemned an “ugly racist message” aimed at a Black fine arts professor who is a co-founder of Black Lives Matter.
In a bio posted on the college website, Patrisse Cullors, who lives in Los Angeles and has developed an online Master of Fine Arts curriculum at Prescott College, is described as an “an artist, organizer and freedom fighter.”
A social media post on the Chino Valley Community Facebook Page contains a screenshot of her bio with the headline “This is who Prescott College just hired” and says “This is the WRONG PERSON for a COLLEGE IN PRESCOTT SEND HER BACK TO CALIFORNIA.”
Some of the comments are blatantly racist, and at least one contains a lynching reference.
“Get the rope and everyone involved gets it too. the war is on our doorstep fight now,” a user identified as Sam Keller posted.
Attempts to reach Keller by phone, email and on social media were unsuccessful Sunday evening.
Another post by someone identified as Keven Gilmore says, “We need to make her quit. Her kind are not welcome here.”
The comment appeared to have been deleted later. Attempts to reach Gilmore by email and social media were unsuccessful Sunday evening.
In a statement released Saturday, Prescott College President John Flicker said he supports Cullors and is proud of her work.
“We are dismayed to see the ugly racist messages circulating on social media in our community about Patrisse Cullors, a member of our faculty at Prescott College,” Flicker wrote. “Her inspiring work is recognized across the globe and we are honored that she is a part of the Prescott Community. “
Flicker added that “We strongly support Patrisse’s academic freedom as a member of our faculty and her right of free speech as a citizen. We also strongly support the efforts of Black Lives Matter to achieve a more just society for all Americans.”
Flicker noted that there has been a strong response in support of Cullors from community members, many of whom have shared the offending posts and “doxxed” the offending commenters by posting their places of business.
“These racist messages are unacceptable and do not represent the values of our community, and we are grateful for the growing number of messages we are receiving supporting Patrisse and her work,” Flicker said in his statement.
“If you support Patrisse and her work join the cause and continue to speak out against racism.”
Cullors did not immediately respond to requests for an interview Sunday night.
According to her bio, Cullors is a Fulbright Scholar who completed her MFA work at the University of Southern California’s Roski School of Art and Design in May 2019.
Her thesis was a performance titled “Respite, Reprieve, and Healing: An Evening of Cleansing,” which “explored themes such as exhaustion, restoration, and queer world building through ritual Black hair washing and procession movements.”
She is the author of “When They Call You a Terrorist: A Black Lives Matter Memoir.”
Her bio states that Cullors has been active in criminal justice reform efforts and led the Reform LA Jails’ “Yes on R” campaign, a ballot initiative that passed by a large margin in March.
Prescott College is a private four-year liberal arts college with an enrollment of 840 students.
One of its most famous graduates is U.S. Sen. Tom Udall, a Democrat from New Mexico.
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