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GWC professor under attack for comment made to asian family

Tarin Olson, GWC professor, was recorded making remarks that many describe as racist.

Tarin Olson, GWC professor, was recorded making remarks that many describe as racist.

Tarin Olson, GWC professor, was recorded making remarks that many describe as racist.

Spencer Otte, Entertainment Editor

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A Golden West counselor is under fire for comments she can be heard making in a video that has gone viral.

In the video, posted to Facebook on March 1 by Long Beach resident Tony Kao, Tarin Olson is seen telling Kao, “you need to go back to your home country.” In a second video uploaded by Kao, she claims that there are “too many people like [Kao] here,” and that he “is making [Olson’s] culture extinct.” Kao says in the video that he and his wife were born in the United States.

Olson, who holds a Ph.D in Clinical Psychology, has worked at Golden West since 1991. She currently teaches Career and Life Planning, and said in a statement to CBS that her students know she is not a racist.

Kao says that the encounter began when he, along with his wife and daughter were walking through their neighborhood. In a post attached to the video, Kao claims that Olson was passing them when she told them, unprovoked, to go back to their country. Kao confronted Olson, at which point his wife began filming the confrontation.

In an statement issued to CBS Los Angeles, Olson did not deny the comments, but said “I feel my perspective will be twisted if discussing the skewed video which cut out part of the incident… If you would like to have a full normal interview about the displacement of European-Americans then I gladly am available to enlighten the public.”

Golden West College responded to the incident on Facebook, saying “It has recently come to our attention that there was a video posted on Facebook of a GWC faculty member making comments that the College does not condone or support. Golden West College believes in an inclusive and welcoming environment for all students.” Golden West told CBS that they are currently handling this matter internally.

Some of Olson’s former students have expressed surprise at the views she expresses in the video. One student (who wishes to remain anonymous) says that although they are themself an Asian immigrant, they never experienced any racism from Olson. “I never saw she had any kind of behavior like that before. She’s very nice in class. I was really shocked when I saw that video.”

Letitia Clark, the Coast College District director of Public Affairs released this statement early Wednesday morning:

“Golden West College takes all of the recent concerns and comments expressed by members of our community very seriously. The recent video posted online of a faculty member’s comments in public are extremely disappointing and do not reflect the values or mission of the College. We expect that our faculty and staff adhere to the District’s “Board Policy 3050 – Code of Professional Ethics”, which requires that the conduct of employees, as “public employees”, shall be worthy of the respect and confidence of the community the District serves. Employees should, therefore, avoid conduct which is in violation of the public trust or which creates a justifiable impression among the community that such trust is being violated. We deeply regret that the words expressed were painful and hurtful to our students and all of the supportive members of our community.”

“We are reviewing all internal policies and viable options for next actionable steps. We do not anticipate the faculty member in question to be on campus this week and because this is a personnel matter, additional details may be limited as further review continues. We value and support the free and open exchange of thoughts and ideas in an environment that embraces mutual respect and civility. We appreciate the continuous feedback of the community and are asking that all concerns be sent to [email protected] If a call back is needed, please leave your contact information.”

This story will be updated as more information is available.

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GWC professor under attack for comment made to asian family