Former students of Melissa Landa say she shouldn’t have been fired.

They wrote this to the Diamondback:

Letter: We’re Melissa Landa’s former students. She should still work at UMD.

On June 8, as The Diamondback reported earlier this month, Melissa Landa was dismissed from the University of Maryland’s education college without any explanation. We are writing as current and former students, and people of color, expressing surprise and shock upon learning this. For 10 years, Landa has provided a safe environment and approach to learning, in which students learned about the roots of racial bias.

Despite a string of escalating incidents, it was not until black Bowie State University student 2nd Lt. Richard Collins III was murdered on the campus in May — and Sean Urbanski, a white former student at this university, was charged in connection with the killing — that many of this university’s faculty seemed to finally acknowledge the prevalence of racism here.

Landa, however, recognized and addressed the reality of racism in all her classes while advocating for faculty and students of color for more than 10 years.

The Diamondback Editorial Board recently noted that the administration appears to finally recognize the “degradation, prejudice and violence marginalized communities experience at this university.” However, this university’s commitment to combating racism requires more than just responding to biased professors; it must also hire, and protect from capricious firing, instructors like Landa and other faculty who actively support and mentor students of color.


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