College Spanish teachers sue for hostility and more

"Buy yourself new clothes, old man."

Three Spanish-language instructors at the San Diego Community College District filed suit Tuesday (December 12) against the institution and two faculty members for civil rights violations, retaliation, hostile work environment, and other alleged infractions. The individuals charged are Rosalinda Sandoval, supervisor of the Spanish department, and Trudy Gerald, Sandoval's supervisor.

In April of 2014, Sandoval made discriminating remarks against Salvador Gonzalez, calling him "Chilango Prieto," "Mosca Prieta," and "Elvis Mexicano Prieto," that Gonzalez interpreted to mean "Darky Chilango," "Darky fly," and "Darky Mexican Elvis," which he considered derogatory and disparaging, according to the suit.

The following month, Sandoval said she would do everything in her power to upset Gonzalez's work environment, according to the suit. Gonzalez says he sent several emails to Gerald complaining of his mistreatment, but she did not respond.

In the complaint, David Becerra said Sandoval told him, in Spanish, that he was the "antique of the department" and to "Buy yourself new clothes, old man." Becerra says he went to Gerald and got no help. Becerra claims his teaching schedule was negatively changed because of his complaints to Gerald.

Antonio Jiminez went to the teachers' union to complain about the lack of a class assignment. He was able to get one. But, he claims, in retaliation for going to the union, he was given a class that met three days a week at 7:45 in the morning. He was living in Mexico at the time.

In the suit, Jiminez claims that Sandoval, in front of students, called him and Becerra "the old geezers of the department." All three plaintiffs say they have suffered "humiliation, annoyance, embarrassment, fright, loss of reputation, severe stress, and mental pain and anguish."

Jack Beresford, director of communications and public relations for the district, said he could not comment on an ongoing legal case.

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The article doesn't mention which campus is involved here. That district has San Diego City College, San Diego Mesa College, and Miramar College. Oh, there may be more locations. That professor who was "living in Mexico" at the time of his complaint should not expect special treatment. A normal work schedule could be expected to involve an early morning start, and if you choose to reside on the other side of that sluggish border crossing, that's your choice.

With my limited knowledge of slang, I'd say that the "nicknames" mentioned in the story were definitely negative, and obvious put-downs. In fact, if they had been uttered by someone with a non-Hispanic surname or background, would have been labeled highly racist. I do know that "Chilango" is not a term of endearment in this area. So, it will be a face-off between Hispanic instructors here in the US. Ain't it great?

Visduh: Sandoval, who is blamed for the racist slurs, appears to have an Hispanic name. This allegedly happened at San Diego City College. I should have mentioned that. Best, Don Bauder

Mike Murphy: Suing an individual only is a sure way to get a judgment in your favor, but no money. Best, Don Bauder

right, suing on principal does not make a profit.

The college knew or should have known. All involved are employees thus the institution is sued along with the individuals.

Murphyjunk: You pay a lawyer a bundle and get a judgment. You might as well hang the judgment on your bathroom wall. Best, Don Bauder

AlexClarke: Of course the institution should have known of the alleged treatment. Best, Don Bauder

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