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Colleges take heat after former instructor’s comments draw ire

By in Press Enterprise on July 22, 2017

By Craig Shultz

Mt. San Jacinto College has had to tighten the monitoring of its social media pages after a former instructor was punished for comments after canceling a room rental agreement with an Asian client.

Tami Barker was a part-time English as a second language instructor at the college last spring when she was accused of making discriminatory comments and canceling the guest’s reservation to rent a room in her Running Springs home through Airbnb, a service that allows people to offer short-term lodging in their properties.

Dyne Suh, a Riverside resident who is South Korean, said she booked the cabin near Big Bear in February and was only minutes away when she received text messages from Barker, canceling her reservation. The texts read: “I wouldn’t rent it to u if u were the last person on earth” and “One word says it all. Asian.”

Barker also texted: “This is why we have Trump” as well as “And I will not allow this country to be told what to do by foreigners.”

The messages came after a dispute about Suh adding extra guests to her reservation.

The California Department of Fair Employment and Housing announced July 12 that it had reached agreements with Barker and Suh, a law student at UCLA. Barker was fined $5,000 and ordered to take a course in Asian American studies as part of her agreement. She also has to apologize to Suh, the agency said.

In a separate action, Barker was barred from being an Airbnb host.

Barker is no longer associated with the Mt. San Jacinto College, but state employment laws prohibit the district from discussing personnel matters, college spokeswoman Karin Marriott said.

Barker taught ESL at the MSJC through the end of the spring 2017 semester. Marriott was unsure how long Barker was with the district.

Barker also no longer teaches at Chaffey […]    

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