By Timothy Rosales
A part-time political science instructor is being investigated by the college administration after six students reportedly filed complaints against him for his classroom behavior.
Ruben Vega is accused of allegedly making what has been termed by one student as “racist” remarks toward people of color. He also has been accused of using terminology that some students found antiquated or offensive.
Vega acknowledged in an Oct. 26 email to students in the two classes that he teaches – Political Science 001 – that he is under investigation and that several students have accused him of “being a racist.”
Administration officials, citing personnel concerns, would not go on record about the investigation. Vega said he would have no official comment beyond his email.
According to one student of Asian heritage who asked not to be identified, the issue started around Oct. 1 when Vega allegedly made remarks which she said “deeply insulted” her in ways she found “mind-boggling and unacceptable.”
“Mr. Vega was targeting me…,” she said. “[He] made a comment that Asians are materialistic.” She was deeply offended of how he could say such thing and then giggle about the situation as if it were a joke. She then responded with “We make our money and we buy whatever we want. We the people.” Afterwards, he continued back to his lecture and didn’t speak on anything until a week or so later. She thought to herself that he had a bad morning and decided to forget about the incident.
On Oct. 7, she said she was about to ask a question in class when Vega began to mock her. “He is saying every word I say while dragging it out with a sarcastic voice and puts his hands in the air while doing so in a joking fashion,” she said. Later, she contends Vega told her that she did not have “a sense of humor.” She said Vega made attempts to silence her, which led her to eventual walk out of class. About a dozen students in the class were surveyed and said they didn’t want to comment on the record, but a woman of Jamaican descent said she found some of Vega’s statements “odd,” perhaps socially awkward.
One particular statement stuck with her. While talking about his upbringing he mentioned that he knew his place in Southern California was in San Pedro but that, “the Blacks, they knew where they belonged. In Compton.”