Former De Anza College professor faces backlash after posting about ‘negative experiences’ with Black students, faculty


Annalise Freimarck, Editor-in-chief

A De Anza College student confronted her former professor over social media in early June for making a public post on Facebook, expressing that he has had negative experiences with Black students and faculty within his career. 

Levy Zamora, a former part-time Communication Studies professor at De Anza College, said in his post, “I have had poor experiences with black folks in educational institutions. Instead of being transformative, and supportive, which I thought teachers were obligatory to do, they did more harm to my career than good.”

In response to his post, Wynne Powell, 21, undeclared major, replied with a comment that said, “You’re a teacher. Quit the field until you cannot hold a grudge against black people for being black.”

Zamora also claimed that Black people have a crab mentality and attached a screenshot of a graphic that explains those who have the crab mentality as “spiteful humans trying to bring down those who are more successful by diminishing their importance.”

Despite this, Zamora said that he still stands in solidarity with the Black community during “this time of need because I know that not all black people have bad intentions, but I know they are not innocent they can discriminate too.”

The post has since been deleted.

Powell, who was in one of Zamora’s classes in fall 2018, said she was shocked when she first saw the post.

“Not only is this perpetuating and creating a hostile environment, just because people have darker skin than you, but you’re proudly admitting it,” she said.Button for Black lives at De Anza

After responding to the post, Powell said that Zamora’s statements made her wonder about Zamora’s equability in teaching his students, and made her feel as though she wanted to retake the class.

“Not only is that speaking to the integrity of the teacher, but also the integrity of my grade,” she said. “Am I graded more softly because of the color of my skin?”

In response to an interview request from La Voz, Zamora provided a statement via Facebook Messenger that said he wants people to listen to each other and be open-minded to ideas of change.

“This is an emotional time in our community, our country, and our world,” he wrote. “We should do the greater good for the greatest amount of people. It is a time for healing, a time for change, and a time for advocacy.”

Powell reported the incident to Alicia Cortez, dean of equity and engagement, via email. 

“I want to acknowledge that I have received your email and appreciate you bringing this to our attention,” Cortez wrote. “As you know, De Anza is committed to creating a safe, respectful and equitable campus for all our students and will continue to do so at all levels of our institution.”

Powell sent a second email asking what actions had been taken and was told that the correct actions had been taken, and was then directed to the current communications page on De Anza’s website, where Zamora’s name has been removed.

Following the response from Cortez, Powell said she felt dissatisfied with the actions that were taken by De Anza.

“I do not feel like they would ensure the comfort and safety of their Black faculty and students that may have been affected by his attitude just because, again, I feel like it was an easy way out,” she said. “There was no public condemnation. So, just because there was no public discussion, except for ones made by students, there really was little accountability on their part.”

It is unknown what actions were taken by De Anza in response to Zamora’s post. De Anza has made no public post acknowledging the incident.

“It just, it really feels like, kind of hush hush,” Powell said.