The incident is alleged to have happened in September, during a lecture about marginalized groups reappropriating offensive terms.
The University of Ottawa’s student union demands the school take action against a group of professors who wrote an open letter, citing academic freedom, in defending a professor’s use of the N-word in class.
The incident is alleged to have happened in September, during a lecture about marginalized groups reappropriating offensive terms. The professor involved later tried to apologize, and faced backlash for her decision to use the N-word.
In a statement, the school’s student union says that even within an academic context, the word is a derogatory term that remains offensive and should not be used by professors.
uOttawa student newspaper The Fulcrum reports that a group of 34 current and retired professors at uOttawa penned an open letter in response to the incident and the professor’s treatment, defending academic freedom.
“It is inevitable that certain lectures, certain concepts, certain words will hurt some susceptibilities,” the letter says, as translated from French by the paper. “University is precisely the place to reflect on this reality, to historicize it, and to scientifically break free from tyranny, both from majorities and from presentism.”
In a statement, the president of the student union writes that “Black students, are essentially being told to toughen up and move on, as usual.”
The student union calls on the school’s president to denounce the group of faculty behind the letter, and says there is a need for better training of professors.