Gonzaga class taught by woman of color disrupted by 'violent behaviors'

<p><p>A man interrupted a Gonzaga University class Tuesday afternoon and directed “abusive and threatening language involving race and gender” at the teacher, who is a woman of color.</p></p><p><p>The class, an upper division course, was in session around 4:15 p.m. in College Hall. The man, who is white, has no affiliation with the university and has a history of mental health issues, Vice Provost of Student Affairs Kent Porterfield said in a message Wednesday to students.</p></p><p><p>Deena González, provost and senior vice president, said in a message to faculty and staff Thursday that after entering the classroom, the man proceeded “to make demands, use racial epithets, exhibited some violent behaviors, and directed his ire toward the faculty member.”</p></p><p><p>Once the man left the classroom, the faculty member locked the classroom door.</p></p><p><p>The man was stopped outside of the Hemmingson Center and eventually released to his parents’ care, Porterfield said.</p></p><p><p>Gonzaga Campus Security and Public Safety sent out a message Tuesday afternoon alerting the campus of the situation. The university has consulted with the Spokane Police Department.</p></p><p><p>Citing an ongoing investigation, the university did not provide further details.</p></p><p><p>Gonzaga is providing support to any affected students and the faculty member, Gonzaga spokeswoman Mary Joan Hahn said.</p></p><p><p>Porterfield said students detailed the incident through the university’s <a href=”https://www.gonzaga.edu/about/diversity-equity-inclusion/bias-team” target=”_blank”>bias reporting system</a>, which can be used for bias incidents or hate crimes, as well as campus security.</p></p><p><p>He acknowledged the incident has put a focus on the balance between having an “open and welcoming campus for visitors and guests,” while also providing safety and security for students, faculty and staff. He said the university will review and determine whether any building security changes are needed.</p></p><p><p>“Being aware of and acknowledging this tension creates the space for both a recognition that we must engage with the sometimes challenging and gritty realities of the world, while also monitoring incidents that occur on our campus to determine if changes in our building security practices are warranted,” he wrote.</p></p>