Professor uses misogynistic slur against student during meeting

Left%3A+Dr.+Kim+Perigo%2C+professor+of+Communications%0ARight%3A+Taylor+Carpenter%2C+AS+president

San Diego Community College District, Mesa Office of Communications

Left: Dr. Kim Perigo, professor of Communications Right: Taylor Carpenter, AS president

Rosanne Bangalan, Co-editor-in-chief

During a President’s Cabinet meeting held over Zoom on Sept. 15, a well-known professor was heard making a sexist slur against the president of Mesa Associated Students.

After the student, Taylor Carpenter, had finished giving her report, Dr. Kim Perigo, a professor of Communication Studies and co-director of the nationally ranked Speech and Debate team, was heard addressing the “student president” as “the same stupid cunt.”

Right after making the comment, President Pamela Luster and other members of the cabinet quickly reminded Perigo that she needed to mute her microphone and continued on with the meeting. According to Carpenter, it wasn’t until after a few more members had given their reports that Luster had turned the floor over to Perigo, without mentioning the incident explicitly. Perigo then apologized only for the interruption and for using the profanity. 

After the incident, according to Carpenter, Perigo had emailed Carpenter and expressed regret for saying the profanity out loud and that it was “unfortunately timed.” She also emphatically denied that the slur was addressed toward Carpenter. 

The Academic Senate Executive Committee held an emergency meeting the following weekend to consider Perigo’s seat on the search committee that will hire the new district chancellor. The vote on whether or not to remove Perigo from her seat was taken by the Committee on Committees, which decided that Perigo’s actions did not share the moral capability of making decisions that look out for all students’ best interests.

In an Academic Senate meeting held on Sept. 21, during Carpenter’s report to the Senate, she shared the recording of the video and her sentiments on what Mesa and its faculty could do moving forward. 

“I am taking it as a personal attack but also an attack on students because I was the only student president in that meeting,” Carpenter said in regard to the incident. She went on to share a contentious history between her and Perigo; Carpenter said that she has felt discriminated against while taking her classes and on the Mesa Speech and Debate team.

Carpenter also shared the importance of accountability, saying “Accountability comes down to integrity, it comes down to what’s in your heart.” She reflected on the actions of the faculty who were present during the meeting and felt that they “should have felt comfortable enough to speak up and say something in the moment.” 

To show her opposition against the comment and the history of bias Carpenter has had with Perigo, she went ahead and filed a Title V complaint. According to California Community Colleges, Title V prohibits “discrimination or retaliation against persons or groups…related to religion, sex, gender identification, physical or mental disability, or any other characteristic protected under applicable federal or state law.” 

Following Carpenter’s recount of the incident, various senators and faculty members defended her decision to file a complaint against Perigo and shared their own experiences with Perigo; many described similar negative encounters with Perigo. Sakeenah Gallardo, an associate professor of Communication Studies and mentor to Carpenter, was even moved to tears during her defense at the Sept. 21 Academic Senate meeting. 

The same day of the incident, Luster requested an investigation from SDCCD Human Resources and has asked for additional help from the National Conflict Resolution Center. In an email addressed to Mesa College employees,  Luster explained that “the district will take action but it must do so in a responsible manner.” 

As of Sept. 24, Perigo has stepped down from her seat on the California Community  Colleges’ Board of Governors, which helps decide the policies and guidance the community colleges will adhere to. 

The Mesa Press has reached out to Perigo for any additional comments but has not received a response. 

The Mesa Press will continue following this story and post any updates as necessary.