School board members move to strip Alison Collins of titles, committee positions

Two San Francisco Unified School District board members will introduce a resolution on Thursday calling for fellow member Alison Collins...

Two San Francisco Unified School District board members will introduce a resolution on Thursday calling for fellow member Alison Collins to be removed as vice president and stripped of all of her committee assignments.

School board members Faauuga Moliga and Jenny Lam, who have both joined in widespread calls by elected officials for Collins to resign, will introduce the resolution at Thursday’s special meeting, Moliga said in a tweet on Tuesday. Collins has not indicated she has any plans to resign.

“I am not alone when I say I don’t have confidence in Commissioner Collins to govern,” Lam said at the regular board meeting on Tuesday. “Being silent in moments of injustice allows injustice to persist. If we continue to be silent, violence, even the kinds caused by words, will persist.”

The proposed resolution comes after tweets made by Collins in 2016 resurfaced which criticized members of the Asian American community for a perceived unwillingness to speak out against anti-Black racism. The tweets used derogatory slurs including “house n*****” and stereotyped language such as “tiger moms,” and accused Asians of actively promoting the “model minority BS.”

“They use white supremacist thinking to assimilate and “get ahead,’” Collins tweeted.

The tweets, which became public at a time when many Asian Americans feel targeted by increased prejudice and hate attacks, have provoked outrage and hurt from many community members.

Collins, who is the only Black woman on the board, wrote on Saturday that they were taken out of context and apologized for the pain caused by her words, but that apology has not been well received.

“I felt disgust and pain. How you twisted a real problem…into an attack against Asian Americans,” said Amy Chang, an SFUSD student who spoke at Tuesday’s meeting. “Why these tweets were found does not change what was said or the pain that these tweets have caused. Those words show bias against Asian American communities.”

Collins now faces calls to resign from an overwhelming majority of San Francisco’s power structure, including Mayor London Breed and almost the entire Board of Supervisors.

Most school board members have condemned her statements but have not called for her to resign, instead calling for “restorative justice.” However, high-level district administrators, who are often present at school board meetings but usually stay out of politics, this week condemned Collins’ comments in the strongest possible terms.

“We agree with the many city leaders and former Board of Education commissioners who have spoken out about how Vice President Collins’ tweets perpetuate gross and harmful stereotypes and leave no room for nuance or potential misunderstanding,” the administrators said in the letter. “Unfortunately, we have been disappointed that Vice President Collins, to date, has not seemed willing to take meaningful responsibility for her actions.”

Collins said on Tuesday that she is continuing to engage with her colleagues and the community.

“I’d like to re-emphasize my sincere and heartfelt apologies,” Collins said. “I appreciate the opportunity to be part of a restorative and transformative dialogue going forward that calls us in together as leaders in this city. That call is for us to live and model the values we bring through policy and action and to double down on our commitment to listen, and continuing fighting for educational opportunities and racial justice for all, and all communities as a member of the Board of Education.”

The tweets were uncovered as part of an ongoing recall effort against Collins and two other board members by Diane Yap, an SFUSD graduate who was reportedly angered by the board’s decision to change the admissions process at Lowell High School, and has since helped form a group called the Friends of Lowell.

The recall group, which Yap worked with until Tuesday, has argued the tweets illustrate an anti-Asian bias behind the Lowell decision, which many have viewed as hurting the Asian students who make up a large portion of the school’s student body. Some of Collins’ supporters have since linked Yap, in turn, to anti-Black sentiments expressed in her own online posts.

A small number of people have come to Collins’ defense, with one group issuing a letter noting that she has worked to implement policies on behalf of Asian and Pacific Islander communities like language pathways.

“Those of us who are Asian/Pacific Islander ask that our pain not be used as a wedge to further harm or pit API and Black communities against each other by a racist recall effort,” the letter wrote. “Commissioner Alison Collins has been one of the few consistent anti-racist voices among politicians in this city. We continue to grieve even as we support Commissioner Collins, and we call on all San Francisco leaders to focus on healing and deepening efforts to address systemic racism in our schools.”

A public servant’s utmost mission is to strengthen the relationship between the office and the people they serve. It is…

Posted by Faauuga Moliga on Saturday, 20 March 2021

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