Kansas professor under investigation for using racial slur that left students …

24 Nov 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

A Kansas Professor is on Paid Leave for Uttering this Racial Slur.

The class is designed to provide graduate students with teaching instruction, and the topic on that day — Nov. 12 — was how to talk to undergraduate students on college campuses about sensitive racial issues. Five students have filed discrimination complaints with the university against the assistant professor of communication studies, Andrea Quenette, who admitted to using the N-word during a discussion about race.Requesting a leave of absence, the university told her that, pending investigation, she will need to stay off campus during the time of her administrative leave.A professor at the University of Kansas at Lawrence is on leave while the university investigates a complaint accusing her of racially discriminatory behavior in class, the Lawrence Journal-World reports.

On November 12, in the classroom, the problem of racism was discussed during the Communications Studies 930 class for graduate students who teach undergraduate courses. According to an open letter calling for Quenette’s termination, a student in her COMS 930 class asked for advice on how to handle undergraduate students who want to talk about race and discrimination on campus. According to the letter, Quenette told the class: “As a white woman I just never have seen the racism. … It’s not like I see ‘[n-word]’ spray painted on walls.” Gabrielle Byrd, the classroom’s only black student, told The Washington Post that she almost couldn’t believe what she’d just heard. That particular racial slur, Byrd noted, is one she refuses to speak out loud herself. “I was incredibly shocked that the word was spoken, regardless of the context,” Byrd said Monday. “I turned to the classmate siting next to me and asked if this was really happening.

Student protesters and civil rights activists say many universities have not gone far enough to create a campus culture of inclusiveness for people of color. When the discussion directed towards low graduation rates of black pupils, Quenette asserted as the pupils were implying that it was only due to inferior academic performance and not organized racism. Quenette has made it a habit to disparage the reputations of veteran GTAs in the Communication Studies department by naming them and mocking their classroom policies and procedures, and disclosing private information regarding research projects involving other GTAs [graduate teaching assistants],” the open letter reads. “Dr. When some students in the class suggested institutionalized racism could be a factor, Quenette said in her experience, low academic performance is usually to blame. “These comments betray a lack of empathy and care for students of color who are facing academic struggles,” the complaining students wrote in their letter.

On Monday, hundreds of students at Brandeis University in Massachusetts occupied an administrative building for a fourth consecutive day, demanding the school’s interim president increase the number of black faculty members and confront issues on race. Schumacher additionally said she considers that Quenette “actively broken policies,” leaving the one black pupil “devastated.” Jyleesa Hampton, a first year communications graduate student, is among individuals who tweeted utilizing the hashtag #FireAndreaQuenette. “Folks talked about being frightened to return to course, dashed to get her in charge of their classes,” she said. “I do not believe it’ll be a safe environment for me” to instruct in.

The professor’s willingness to use the racial slur offended many students, but the tense exchange that followed — touching on institutional racism, discrimination and the minority experience on campus — was perhaps even more troubling, Byrd said. Like Missouri, the Brandeis students say that 10 percent of the school’s faculty should be black – a number they say would better reflect the diversity of the student population.

Then, students read statements describing how her comments made them feel. “I feel terrible, upset and sad that I had hurt their feelings and made them feel uncomfortable, because I do care about them as people,” Quenette said. Quenette maintained that her remarks were not directed to hurt the feelings of any pupil. “I did not direct my words at any person or group of people,” she said. “It was an open dialogue about a serious problem that’s changing our campus, also it’s going to change our teachers.

Her comments that followed were even more disparaging as they articulated not only her lack of awareness of racial discrimination and violence on this campus and elsewhere but an active denial of institutional, structural, and individual racism. He said administrative leaves are often used “to address substantial disruptions to the learning environment or concerns about individuals’ welfare” while investigations are underway. The 33-year-old professor, who has taught at Kansas for two years, told the Journal-World that her comments were not discriminatory and were protected by academic freedom. “I didn’t intend to offend anyone. She added that she would’ve have apologized “in the moment” after using the slur, but her students remained silent, and the conversation continued.

She said the student-led campaign against her has been “very hurtful.” But students such as Byrd, who have been accused of being overly sensitive, said the decision to publicly challenge their instructor was not taken lightly. “This decision was not easy for us,” Byrd told The Post. “She has power over all of us, over my grade, over my job.

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