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Margaret Mia

Teacher

Princeton Supports Professor Who Apologized for Slur | Inside Higher Ed


In response to student complaints about a professor saying the N-word in class in reference to a poem that includes the word repeatedly, Princeton University said in a statement that it “guarantees all faculty and students the ‘broadest possible latitude’ to speak freely inside and outside the classroom. Speech is only restricted under narrow exceptions that do not apply to this incident. Our rules recognize that these free speech protections apply to words and ideas that people may find ‘offensive, unwise, immoral, or wrong-headed,’ but these protections are essential for Princeton’s truth-seeking mission.”

Joe Scanlan, a professor of visual arts at Princeton, used the word this month in a seminar while discussing a poem by Jonah Mixon-Webster. (Scanlan is white and Mixon-Webster is Black.) Scanlan said via email that he “did apologize to students, not for uttering the word (it is the only word in the poem) but for over- and underestimating the situation.”

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