White Prof. On Paid Leave After Saying ‘N-Word’ Three Times In Class

Papers on desks by window in classroom at university

White Prof. On Paid Leave After Saying ‘N-Word’ Three Times In Class

The Duquesne University professor is currently under investigation.

Published September 13th

Written by BET Staff

A university professor in Pittsburgh, Pa., was placed on paid leave Friday (Sept. 11) after students posted a video of him using the N-word three times during an online class.

The Duquesne University professor, Gary Shank, who is white, gave students “permission” to use the racial slur because he said they would be using it in a “pedagogical sense,” local affiliate CBS2-Pittsburgh reports. A student posted a video of Shank using the N-word, just hours before he was put on paid leave. 

**Warning: video contains explicit content**

RELATED: Western Carolina University Condemns Racist Videos Posted By White Students

Introducing the word to his students during a morning virtual education psychology course, Shank gave his students a chance to guess the word. After no students responded, Shank then proceeded to use the “N-word” for the first time before continuing teaching his lesson. 

“When I was a young man, that was a very commonly used word. You know what Brazil nuts are, right?” Shank asked his students. “When I was a kid, people called them [N-word] toes.”

Shank would use the derogatory word just moments later for a second time.

“When I had a little extra money, and I was spending it extravagantly, somebody might say I was [N-word] rich.”

RELATED: South Carolina Officer Caught On Video Saying N-Word Gets Fired

In an official statement, the University confirmed that Shank would no longer be teaching the course and another professor would be taking over the class.

School of Education Dean Gretchen Generett addressed the incident soon after the virtual class session ended apologizing to her students about Friday mornings uncalled for event.

“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,” she said. “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.

She concluded her statement by saying that “Duquesne University takes very seriously our work in creating an inclusive environment.”

(Photo by Getty Images)


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