Kansas Professor Cleared Of Racial Insensitivities In Use of The N-Word In Lecture . . . Then Asked to Undergo Retraining and Other Changes

Andrea_Quenette_OPT(1)We have been discussing the worrisome trend of professors being subjected to investigations and discipline for “micro aggressions” or hostile environment in classrooms. These actions raise serious concerns over academic freedom. One such case involves University of Kansas Assistant communication studies professor Andrea Quenette. Quenette was subjected to a four-month investigation after using a racial slur in class as part of her lecture. Now, she has been cleared of the offense but she is still being asked to comply with special training and remedial actions.

Quenette was put on paid leave in November after eight graduate students filed a discrimination complaint against her. Quenette explained that the n-word was used in the course of retelling a factual event that occurred at another campus. The discussion followed a heated, campus-wide town hall forum on race and she was responding to a student’s question about how to best talk about the event and racial issues with other students. She said that it was difficult to address such issues as a white woman but said that KU was better than other schools where she had seen racial slurs written on the walls including the n-word. The graduate students proceeded to file a complaint that object that “Dr. Quenette’s deployment of racially violent rhetoric not only creates a non-inclusive environment in opposition to one of the University of Kansas’ core tenets, but actively destroys the very possibility of realizing those values and goals.” So a teacher discussing historic racism cannot use the terms deemed offensive in class? Her comments were clearly not meant with racial animus but the opposite. Yet, Jyleesa Hampton, a first-year communications graduate student insisted that the important thing is not how such words are intended but how they are received.

Now here is the unclear element in the KU investigation. Quenette was cleared of racism and harassment. She was found to have used the word as part of an educational purpose. Yet, the university recommended that Quenette undergo cultural competency training, re-evaluate orientation curriculum to include more diversity support and pair up with a faculty member. The school also recommended possibly reassigning duties within the communications department. That is the response to an complaint that was rejected in terms of a violation of the school rules.

What is particularly disturbing is that Quenette was subject to such a long investigation after a letter was issued that clearly objected to her views as an academic. The open letter included the following objections:

“As you can imagine, this utterance caused shock and disbelief. Her comments that followed were even more disparaging as they articulated not only her lack of awareness of racial discrimination and violence on this campus and elsewhere but an active denial of institutional, structural and individual racism. This denial perpetuates racism in and of itself. After Ph.D. student Ian Beier presented strong evidence about low retention and graduation rates among black students as being related to racism and a lack of institutional support, Dr. Quenette responded with, ‘Those students are not leaving school because they are physically threatened every day but because of academic performance.’ This statement reinforces several negative ideas: that violence against students of color is only physical, that students of color are less academically inclined and able, and that structural and institutional cultures, policies and support systems have no role in shaping academic outcomes. Dr. Quenette’s discourse was uncomfortable, unhelpful and blatantly discriminatory.”

I have no problem with students challenging the view that black students are being forced out of school due to their race as opposed to their academic performance. However, the students appear unwilling to accept that anyone could hold any opposing view or that such views can be voiced in the context of a class committed to discussing the issue. That is both troubling in terms of the views of these students but also the trend on college and universities campuses.

103 thoughts on “Kansas Professor Cleared Of Racial Insensitivities In Use of The N-Word In Lecture . . . Then Asked to Undergo Retraining and Other Changes”

  1. More damn whiners. And they are our future? Now i am afraid and intimidated. If the lady was using it as an example…omg. And that brat gets to vote. These stories cant all be true.

  2. tnash80hotmailcom
    I saw a lot of those Erlichman interviews as well. Can’t say I recall him saying that. This is, if you look at the reporter’s claim, not something that just popped up, it is from years ago.

    But Erlichman is not the first person I heard talk about this. Others have hinted at it more or less directly over the years.
    Personally I think they probably did both, flood the streets with drugs (actively or passively), and then make lots of arrests. Get em coming and going. I know of at least one DEA agent who had the guts to come out and say they (the DEA agents), were directed to focus on inner city drug dealing and leave the suburbs alone. I don’t doubt for a second that the CIA let crack cocaine dealers into the cities for a slice of the pie. Never mind how they ruined that reporter’s life to boot.

    1. Philly T. Do you know of any evidence that would confirm that this happened?
      I’m not saying it did not happen…..I’d just need to see something that’s more like concrete evidence…..maybe court cases, sworn testimony, drugs in agencies inventory that was intentionally funneled to certain parties, dealings with dealers, documents referring to this tactic, etc.
      ….that it

  3. @PaulCS

    I am not making it up. There really is such a theory as Post Traumatic Slavery Syndrome! Here is a wiki blurb about it:

    Post Traumatic Slave Syndrome: America’s Legacy of Enduring Injury and Healing (PTSS) is a 2005 book resulting from years of historical and psychological research by Joy DeGruy (formerly Leary)[1] PTSS describes a set of behaviors, beliefs and actions associated with or, related to multi-generational trauma experienced by African Americans that include but are not limited to undiagnosed and untreated Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) in enslaved Africans and their descendants.[1]

    PTSS posits that centuries of slavery in the United States, followed by systemic and structural racism and oppression, including lynching, Jim Crow laws, and unwarranted mass incarceration, have resulted in multigenerational maladaptive behaviors, which originated as survival strategies. The syndrome continues because children whose parents suffer from PTSS are often indoctrinated into the same behaviors, long after the behaviors have lost their contextual effectiveness.

    I have not read the book yet, (But I did just finish Persepolis by Marjane Satrapi!) and will try to scan through it one of these days. I expect to find it “silly” in extremis.

    Squeeky Fromm
    Girl Reporter

  4. “The flag on high! The ranks tightly closed!
    Red Front marches with iron-firm pace.”

    Are not these university thoughtcrime commissars, a “Red front” themselves?

  5. Scott, GREAT question. You are the kind of husband and wife would want.

  6. Why did KU recruit so many mentally ill or mentally deficient (retarded) students? Why does KU not treat them once this is detected? Why does KU exascerbate their particular illnesses by prosecuting supposed bigots who are not bigots?

    Oh, Professor! I am injured by your reference to the N word.

    Ok, ban the N word at KU. What else will set off these mentally deranged wack jobs? Ban discussion of sex. Ban discussion of illegal immigration. Ban discussion of myopathy. Ban discussion of bi polar disorder. Ban discussion of the Civil War and Jayhawkers. Ban discussion of Jesse James.
    As to the administration and the Board of Curators. They cannot be cured. But nevertheless: Call the men in the white suits.

  7. @ Kerry

    I’ve never heard of that band. The music sounds like “The Ventures.” They were an instrumental band that wrote the theme song to Hawaii Five-O.

  8. Well, according to the Liberals, some victims simply count more than other victims. Remember Mike O’Malley getting slammed for saying that “All Lives Matter.” Since your family is White, their victimization simply does not matter because “white” victimization does not fit in, or is even relevant to the “black” victimization Narrative.

    Why do you think “hate crimes” are seldom pursued against Blacks. It doesn’t fit into the Narrative. Why do you think rappers saying the N-word get a pass, whereas white students on a bus singing a stupid song with the N-word are treated like they are members of the KKK. Simple, the black speakers don’t fit into the Narrative, while the white speakers do.

    Why do you think black thugs like Trayvon Martin get streets named after them? For the same reason Horst Wessel got the Nazi National Anthem written about him – – – it can be fit into the Narrative. I could go and on, but don’t get stuck on trying to make any of this “make sense.” There is no “sense.” There is only the Narrative.

    Squeeky Fromm
    Girl Reporter

    1. Squeeky – they had to shoe-horn Horst Wessel into the Nazi Anthem.

  9. I’ve never been afraid to engage in healthy dialogue. I refuse, however, to capitulate to the framing that allows these college students, some of the most privileged people on the planet, to claim some sort of “oppressive system” that they themselves voluntarily submit to.

    Question: does my family’s victimization somehow lessen the victimization that people of color feel? Is it a zero sum game?

  10. The only way to understand the absurdity of what happened to the Professor is to realize that this is just a part of the Democratic Party “racial victimology” narrative. The Democratic Party leadership panders to blacks to get their votes, and the only way to protect that operation is to intimidate people who threaten the overall narrative.

    Reasonable people look at Black’s low marriage rates, high illegitimate birth rates, and overall propensity toward violence and rightfully question whether the welfare system is doing more harm than good by enabling the bad behavior. The Democrats can not afford to lose the Black voting bloc so they fiercely guard the “narrative.” They invent new theories to explain away the problems, such as “White Privilege” and “Post Traumatic Slavery Disorder.” Any thing that even remotely discusses the problems in the black community as being caused by something other than “racism” must be stomped down. Helpful to that are periodic “pogroms” to keep people in line. The “pogrom” doesn’t have to make any sense – – – it just has to intimidate people. As in the Professor’s case.

    Squeeky Fromm
    Girl Reporter

    1. Squeeky – I like that Post Tramatic Slavery Disorder. I think I have it. I am Irish and we have been enslaved and oppressed longer than blacks in the U.S. In fact there is still an occupation force in Northern Ireland.

      There is Black History Month, but there are not enough black to fill the month. The Irish get St. Paddy’s Day and we kind enough to share it with the alcoholics and budding alcoholics of the world.

  11. Scott: our comments might seem a bit wacko but I welcome you for talking to us. I truly am on your side and on the side of open debate in schools and especially at college level. There is a phrase: 18, up and out. A kid becomes 18, has the right to vote, is an adult, and should get out on his or her own. College students are all adults. They need to act like it.

  12. That’s so true. We should neither judge, nor feel empathy, through political glasses.

  13. Unfortunately, and too often, sympathy and compassion are only granted when the victim comports to the beholder’s political beliefs and selfishly held misconceptions.

  14. Who the heck tells someone, “you’re white” so you’ll be just fine? Sure, your kids might be driven out of school because their mom was wrongfully labeled a racist, but so what? The military families move too?

    Why do some Liberals and the KKK start to sound similar? I think this kind of rhetoric is a critical error.

    This is not the road to world peace.

  15. I am dismayed at the lack of compassion for what this professor and her family are going through.

    The world is becoming less tolerant, less compassionate, and more quick to offense. People are hyper fixating on melanin concentration.

  16. I need to do a better job of reading before I post. Violated one of my pet peeves.

    If you’re rules are that you are allowed to marginalize me, I won’t play with you.

    YOUR rules.

  17. “Do you know what oppression is? 120 days of fearing you will no longer have an income, having to put off buying a house, wondering if your kid has to change schools. Searching everywhere in the country for another job and having your name blown up all over the media as a “racist” That’s pretty oppressing.” – Scott Quenette,

    How about some perspective:
    * 120 days of fear of no longer having an income – how about not being able to get a job in the first place? or of training the person in another country who is taking over your job? Your situation isn’t unique.

    * have to put off buying a house – how about no hope of ever getting one? a delay is a disappointment, not an oppression.

    * wondering if your kid has to change schools? – military kids do it all them time, so do high wage earners in many corporations. At least your kids aren’t going to a failing inner-city school.

    * job search – I didn’t realize she lost her job, or did you for something she did? I don’t understand the comment. If you are making the choice of changing jobs, well, good luck in the search. It doesn’t ease your circumstances any, but lots of people are looking for a job, any job that will pay the bills..

    * “racist” – if the shoe fits, but for what it’s worth, I see your wife as possibly being insensitive in her choice of language, as is most of the (white) people in this country.

    You are in an emotionally difficult time but you will get through it. Even though it’s difficult right now, count your blessings. You’re educated, experienced, white (all will help in getting another job); have a family, and a certain amount of financial security. If you don’t lose focus, you will be all right.

  18. Although, thinking about it, PC might have to be a new rating for micro-aggression.

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