Professor Pictured Wearing Blackface Keeps Her Job Because Purdue Doesn't Punish 'Free Speech’

WEST LAFAYETTE, IN - SEPTEMBER 26: General view of Purdue Boilermakers campus before the game against the Bowling Green Falcons at Ross-Ade Stadium on September 26, 2015 in West Lafayette, Indiana.  (Photo by Michael Hickey/Getty Images)

Professor Pictured Wearing Blackface Keeps Her Job Because Purdue Doesn't Punish 'Free Speech’

Lisa Stillman's friend commented, “I think I am gonna put this on my profile pic too! We did have lots of fun!!”

Published July 3, 2018

A white professor at Purdue University is still on the payroll after posting a public Facebook photo of herself and a friend in blackface.

Lisa Stillman, an instructor in the biology department, allegedly made the 2016 photo her profile picture. In the photo, she and her friend wore black makeup on their faces, wigs with bones in their hair and a pot belly, reported NewsOne.

“Haha! We would be sooooooo NOT politically correct these days!!” the friend wrote in the comments. “That was soo much fun dressing up that year!!”

“Nobody knew who we were!” Stillman wrote back. “As long as we didn’t smile.”

After the photo was posted, a Purdue student sent the image to NewsOne and said how the university refused to take action.

“I found one of my professors made their public Facebook profile picture them in blackface. I found this appalling and I reported it to Purdue University,” the student said. “Instead of firing Lisa Stillman, the Purdue administration covered it up and told her to simply delete the photo.”

When the student reported the photo on Nov. 10, 2017, just after it was posted to her Facebook page, she was told by officials of the Indiana University that the investigation was “completed” and “appropriate action has been taken.”

Purdue University then sent the following statement to NewsOne:

“Purdue received an anonymous “hotline” complaint in November 2017 citing two grievances: one about the way an instructor had reprimanded students to enforce lab protocols, and another about a 2016 Facebook post of a 1974 photo showing the same instructor (then age 12) in a ‘blackface’ Halloween costume,” an email from Purdue News Service said. “The university promptly reviewed these complaints, concluding that the instructor had handled the lab incident in a wholly appropriate manner, and that her personal social media post of an old photo was not harassment under Purdue policy. In any event, what we can say firmly is that, at Purdue, we do not punish speech, particularly when off-campus speech is expressed by an employee speaking as a private citizen.”

Written by Rachel Herron

(Photo: Michael Hickey/Getty Images)


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