A Duquesne University professor who used the N-word three times in an online class said he was only doing so “to demonstrate a point.”
But as KDKA-TV in Pittsburgh reports, that point didn’t go over very well. After video of Professor Gary Shank using the highly-charged racial term went viral, Duquesne University first suspended and now has fired him.
On Wednesday, Shank’s attorney confirmed the firing to KDKA and told the news station he plans to file a grievance against the university
Shank was heard using the N-word in class three times last month and then told his students they had permission to use it.
But Duquesne’s Interim Dean of the School of Education didn’t see it that way.
Dean Gretchen Generett penned a letter to students saying in part:
“To be clear, I believe that there is never a time, pedagogically or otherwise, for a professor to create a hostile learning environment. I know this from my experience as a student, a professor, and now as Interim Dean of the School of Education. Using the ‘N word’ or seemingly encouraging students to use that word is not in keeping with the mission of the University, the School of Education, or the Pennsylvania Department of Education.”
Generett also apologized directly to students in the professor’s class and thanked several of them for speaking up about the incident, helping bring it to light:
“I … offer my sincere apologies to you for what you experienced. I learned about this incident from students who emailed their advisor. I am also aware that a student emailed the professor directly. I understand that sending those emails was not easy and I want to thank students for using their voices to share the troubling and disturbing language that was used by your professor in class.”
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