A Golden West College professor who is seen telling a Long Beach couple to “go back to your home country” on a video that went viral will be on leave for the next two weeks as an internal investigation is conducted, Coast Community College District officials said Thursday.
CCCD spokeswoman Letitia Clark said district officials will be looking to determine if professor Tarin Olson’s comments may have violated the school’s code of conduct. If that is the determination, the professor’s remarks could result in some type of punishment, Clark said.
“This is not being taken lightly,” she said.
Commenters on social media identified the woman as a professor who teaches career planning at the college in Huntington Beach. Olsen, who has worked at the college since 1991, has been in communication with her supervisor and has not disputed that she’s the woman shown in the recording, Clark said.
School administrators learned about the video on Saturday, two days after a Long Beach man named Tony Kao posted it on Facebook, Clark said.
In his post, Kao says he filmed the video as he and his wife were out for a walk with their baby.
“We encountered a bigot and a racist today in our neighborhood in Long Beach,” Kao’s post reads.
He wrote that the woman walked by them and casually told him and his wife to “go back to your country” before the couple started recording. After the camera is rolling, the woman objects to the filming and starts walking away.
“I want you to tell everybody why you told us to `go back to our country,”‘ Kao says.
“You need to go back to your home country,” she replies.
“And what’s that mean?” Kao shoots back.
Toward the end of the 29-second video, Kao calls the woman’s comment unbelievable.
“We’re born and raised in the United States, and you told me to go back to our country,” he says.
Since Kao posted the video last Thursday, it’s accumulated more than 430,000 views.
“My family is overwhelmed with all the heartfelt supportive comments and love,” Kao wrote in a later post. “We are truly grateful to everyone who has stood by our side and sympathized with us.”
–City News Service