University of Kansas professor placed on leave after using racial slur in …

22 Nov 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

Kansas University Puts White Professor Who Used the N-Word on Leave.

In this Friday, Nov. 20, 2015, photo, Andrea Quenette, an assistant professor of communication studies at the University of Kansas, poses for a photo at her home in Lawrence, Kan. (Mike Yoder/The Lawrence Journal-World via AP) The university told Andrea Quenette, 33, an assistant professor of communication studies, that five people had filed discrimination complaints against her, she told the Lawrence Journal-World. A white professor who used the n-word during a lecture about racism on college campuses was placed on paid leave after her students filed a complaint against her. Quenette said she requested a leave of absence and the university said she will have to remain off campus during the administrative leave until the investigation is complete.

This decision comes after a week of protests against Quenette on social media and the circulation of a letter online written by her mostly white students. The communications professor said a classroom discussion was on the syllabus for that day when one of her graduate students asked how they could handle racial problems in their own classrooms. “As a white woman I just never have seen the racism…It’s not like I see ‘N–ger’ spray painted on walls,” she said during her lecture to the graduate students who teach undergraduate classes, according to the students’ online letter. “I tried to preface everything I said with, ‘I don’t experience racial discrimination so it’s hard for me to understand the challenges that other people face, because I don’t often see those,’” Quenette told the newspaper. “As you can imagine, this utterance [of the n-word] caused shock and disbelief,” the students said in their letter. “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. I didn’t direct my words at any individual or group of people,’ she said on Friday. ‘It was an open conversation about a serious issue that is affecting our campus, and it will affect our teachers.

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. In that regard, I consider it within my purview … to talk about those issues.’ But Amy Schumacher, a first-year doctoral student who was in the class of nine white students and one black student, said most ‘just shut down’ after Quenette’s using the slur. He also said administrative leaves are often used ‘to address substantial disruptions to the learning environment or concerns about individuals’ welfare’ while investigations are underway. Jyleesa Hampton, a first-year communications graduate student, is one of the main tweeters of the #FireAndreaQuenette campaign and told the Journal-World that students rushed to her office to explain what had happened.

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