Thursday the SF School Board met and considered a resolution to strip Board Vice President Alison Collins of her leadership role and committee assignments. After some discussion the board voted 5-2 for the resolution. Collins and board president Gabriela Lopez were the two no votes:
San Francisco school board members, in a vote of no confidence, stripped their colleague Alison Collins of her role as vice president over racist tweets against Asian Americans.
The board also removed Collins from a role on any committees. Board members Jenny Lam and Faauuga Moliga, who authored the measure for the action, called for Collins to resign, saying she has failed to accept responsibility for her words…
“This continues to harm and divide our communities,” Lam said during the meeting. “We need to move forward to govern this district.”
Moliga said Collins’ tweets were “not only hurtful, but racist.”
“After Commissioner Collins’ graceful resignation, we would be left with the task of repairing and restoring the dignity and respect that we all deserve,” Moliga said. “History may forget your names, but it will never forget your actions.”
During the meeting, Collins didn’t address the tweets but did attempt to claim board members had not followed the correct process for bringing the resolution to a vote. Specifically the claimed they had brought it forward without the approval of board president Lopez, her one ally. However the SF Chronicle notes that four board members can bring any item up for a vote without the approval of the president. Since that’s what happened here, Collins has nothing to complain about.
“This resolution does nothing to enhance our team. I reject the attempts to mischaracterize me as a person and as a member of this board,” Collins said during the meeting. She’s missing the point: People don’t want her on the team.
An array of Democrats, including SF Mayor London Breed, and every local political group with the lone exception of the Bernie voters, have called on her to step down. A public petition calling for her resignation has garnered nearly 5,000 signatures.
Whether she admits it or not, being stripped of her leadership and being accused of racism must really upset Collins. Best I can tell, this is the only issue she truly cares about. Complaining about racial issues at SF schools is what she has been doing since at least 2016, not just in the tweets that got her in trouble but in appearances before the school board as well. Now suddenly, she’s being publicly and widely identified as a racist.
But Collins of all people should know that language matters. Here she is in 2016, about the time she was writing those offensive tweets about Asian parents and teachers, saying schools and the school board need to do more about racist language and hate speech. She got her wish.
Update: I like this line from a San Francisco Chronicle editorial about this topic. Remember that Collins was one of the people pushing for the renaming of schools, often over disagreements with actions taken 100+ years ago.
…if she and other school board members can condemn Americans on the basis of actions a century or more ago, then surely a Twitter post from 2016 should be fair game in the assessment of an elected official.
Exactly right. If Collins feels comfortable judging Abraham Lincoln a racist, she ought to be held to a pretty high standard.