Education

Tay Anderson's Three-Hour-Plus Defense Before Huge Student Walkout

Tay Anderson joined Brother Jeff Fard for a conversation about the DPS controversy that lasted for more than three hours.
Tay Anderson joined Brother Jeff Fard for a conversation about the DPS controversy that lasted for more than three hours. brotherjeff.com
On September 20, an estimated 1,000-plus Denver Public Schools students staged walkouts at North High School and other institutions to demand the ouster of embattled DPS school board member Tay Anderson, who has repeatedly disputed multiple claims of sexual assault. An independent report released last week, which was authorized by the Denver Board of Education, failed to substantiate the most serious charges against him, chiding him only for bullying on social media, epitomized by a meme of Bugs Bunny saying "Do it, bitch."

But while the student protests received widespread media attention, much less notice has been given to Anderson's attempts to defend himself, including multiple sit-downs with Brother Jeff Fard — one last night, after the protests, and a previous session last week that lasted nearly three and a half hours.

Fard has become the most prominent defender of Anderson, who spoke out back in July about "the white supremacist attacks that have happened to my family" as a result of what he said were false assertions against him — a March 26 accusation of sexual assault from an unidentified woman, and May 25 testimony in front of the Colorado Legislature by Denver Public Schools parent Mary-Katherine Brooks Fleming, in which she said that 61 high school students and one recent graduate had come to her with similar charges against a person "in a position of trust," who was quickly identified as Anderson.

Among the videos shared by Fard yesterday were a clip about "the Bugs Bunny censure against Director Anderson" and footage of demonstrating students from East High School in which many seemed to believe that he had committed sexual assault despite the report's findings.


Misinformation was a major theme of Anderson's marathon chat with Fard, which can be viewed below.
In the video, Anderson once again emphasized that he had been "cleared" of wrongdoing connected to the sexual-assault claims, noted that looking into his social media behavior wasn't part of the investigators' original mission, and characterized the two posts for which he received a wrist slap as simply a "bad judgment call."

Following appearances by a gaggle of Anderson defenders, Fard went though the aforementioned report in great detail. Then Anderson delivered a speech in which he reiterated that he has taken accountability for his actions and told the truth about everything he's done.

This message clearly hasn't gotten across to many DPS students thus far, and as a result, Anderson remains in the political fight of his life.

This post has been updated to clarify that the video included in it was actually recorded prior to the September 20 student protests. We regret the error.
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Michael Roberts has written for Westword since October 1990, serving stints as music editor and media columnist. He currently covers everything from breaking news and politics to sports and stories that defy categorization.
Contact: Michael Roberts