Some 400 Pennsylvania State University faculty signed a letter endorsing the anti-racism teaching and administrative practices that are currently the subject of a former colleague’s lawsuit against the university.
The ‘Letter in Support of Anti-Racist Faculty at Penn State’ criticizes Zack De Piero, 40, a former English professor at the university’s Abington campus, as well as a lawsuit he filed alleging that he and other white employees They were racially discriminated.
The 36-page lawsuit by De Piero, who served as an assistant professor of English and composition on campus, claims he was forced to teach that “the English language is racist and embodies white supremacy.”
He also alleges he was forced to grade “Hispanic and black” students differently and was subjected to exercises focused on critical race theory where white staff were made to feel “terrible.”
The letter criticizing De Piero and his lawsuit, which was filed in June in the District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania, says it is just another example of ‘attacks by reactionaries who claim that the curricula, programs and initiatives that aim to promote inclusion and equity are racist and divisive.’
Zack De Piero, 40, a former English professor at Pennsylvania State University, is suing the university alleging it racially discriminated against him and other white staff.
The lawsuit against Penn State was filed earlier this month in the US District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania.
The nearly 400 signatories to the letter include faculty from Penn State’s campuses in Erie, Fayette, University Park, and Brandywine. Professors from the University of Michigan and other institutions
However, as of June 12, only three faculty members from the Abingdon campus where De Piero taught have signed their names verbatim, The university solution informed.
The 36-page lawsuit details a June 2020 exercise in which white teachers were told they were privileged because they could “breathe” while George Floyd could not.
The lawsuit alleges that an educational equity administrator ‘identified ‘those of us with privileged racial identities’ who ‘need to stay longer’, and led the faculty in a breathing exercise in which she instructed ‘white and non-white people’ black colored to hold it a little longer, to feel the pain.
Another allegation in the lawsuit claims that De Piero, who taught in inner-city schools before teaching at Penn State, was pressured to ensure consistent grades for students of all color lines or he would demonstrate racism.
The lawsuit does not address any of the specific claims made by De Piero, but attacks De Piero’s law firm, The Foundation Against Intolerance and Racism, claiming that the identities of their donors are hidden.
The letter states: “Through fabricated and divisive arguments, this group attempts to undermine and vilify faculty members who have dedicated their careers to challenging systemic racism in higher education while creating a welcoming environment for historically marginalized groups.
Zack De Piero, 40, a former English professor at the university’s Abington campus, claimed he and other white employees were racially discriminated against.
‘To achieve their spurious goals, these reactionary forces have tried to weaponize the courts.’
“We faculty at America’s institutions of higher learning,” he adds, “stand in solidarity with our colleagues at Penn State who have embraced continued efforts on Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and Belonging (DEIB), which must also be to, not a substitute for anti-racist, affirmative action programs and policies.’
Details of the lawsuit state that De Piero’s family was “actively discriminated against, instilling a lifelong commitment to treat all Americans equally.” De Piero is the son of first-generation immigrants from Italy.
The 40-year-old said that after he alerted the university about his perceived discrimination, officials allegedly retaliated by filing a harassment and bullying complaint against him and giving him lower scores on his annual performance review.
‘When he complained about the continuous stream of racial slurs directed at white professors in the writing department, the director of the Office of Affirmative Action told him that ‘There is a problem with the White Race,’ the lawsuit alleges.
He added that he “should attend ‘anti-racist’ workshops ‘until [he] understands,’ and that he might have mental health problems.’
According to court records, some of the workshops included a presentation titled “White Teachers Are a Problem.”
De Piero now works as an assistant professor of English at Northampton Community College.
Of Piero said foxnews last month that, because he was white, he was “inherently flawed on the basis of history.”
“As a white individual, I am in some way responsible for all the injustices and the suffering that is currently in the world and in the history of the world,” he said.
“I think there’s almost a religious, cult-like environment where you had this Original Sin. In this case, I am white. I need to repent of that sin.
‘I need to keep going to these [trainings]keep doing the job… I think they were waging a psychological warfare campaign and they were trying to break people and they almost broke me but they didn’t.
He was furious at the treatment he received after devoting his career to working with disadvantaged and marginalized communities at work and in his personal life.
“How dare you demote someone based on their natural characteristics that they have no control over?” De Piero told the outlet.