American Indian Studies lecturer Oscar “Ozzie” Monge may return to campus next semester despite being subject to an investigation that revealed he had discriminated against a student based on her race.
According to the SDSU course catalog for fall 2018, Monge is set to teach three sections of Written Communication, or AMIND-120, for the American Indian Studies department.
A statement issued by the university said the fall 2018 class schedule was created “approximately one year in advance,” indicating the schedule had been created prior to the launching of Monge’s investigation. The university additionally said the current schedule is “subject to change.”
“A faculty listing does not constitute a confirmed appointment,” the statement said. “The university will begin to process temporary faculty appointments for Fall 2018 during the month of July.”
Monge’s situation unfolded throughout the spring semester of 2017 through a series of Facebook messages – at least 15 – where, according to the investigation, he harassed now-alumna Crystal Sudano for her “whiteness.”
Sudano and Monge frequently disagreed on social justice topics, including how to approach the SDSU mascot debate. At one point, Monge called Sudano’s behavior that of a “white savior,” a term used to describe a white person who supports marginalized groups in order to hide their own racism.
The report, issued in January 2018, concluded Monge had used the term “white” as synonymous with “evil,” a notion Monge promoted through an essay he wrote for the investigator.
“All in all,” the report said, “Monge uses ‘white’ whenever he wishes to explain someone who has done something wrong, or bad.”
Brandon Jones, a political science senior and president of San Diego State College Republicans, said he is skeptical about Monge’s return to campus and that he is disappointed to see him come back.
“I don’t know if he learned his lesson,” Jones said, “especially since it seems like he spent most his time off at different conferences, getting a platform from whichever organizations were putting them on.”
Monge is one of the most prevalent voices in SDSU’s debate over whether to retire the Aztec Warrior mascot. His master’s thesis, titled “Fail, Montezuma! The last vestiges of an obscured yet stubbornly persistent culture of racism at San Diego State University,” explores claims of cultural appropriation pertaining to SDSU’s campus and mascot.
While this may be a concern for those who do not wish to see the Aztec Warrior mascot be retired, Jones said he doesn’t find Monge’s potential return threatening.
“He is a strong voice in the mascot debate,” Jones said, “but I don’t think that him coming back will have an effect on (the outcome of the mascot debate).”