Professor Sorry for Sharing Racially Insensitive Content

January 9, 2015

An adjunct professor of sociology at several New Jersey institutions denied allegations of racism this week, after a someone claiming to be a former student reported the instructor for sharing racially insensitive material on Facebook, according to the South Jersey Times. "I feel terrible," Nancy Reeves told the newspaper, saying she had only reposted some 20 images from the “Mexican Word of the Day” page because they were “plays on words.” The posts, some of which show an unattractive man in a sombrero, parody dictionary entries making fun of Mexican accents, such as: “Asbestos. I did jur [sic] lawn asbestos I could."

The Times reported that an anonymous person claiming to be a “humiliated and offended former student” of Reeves’s sent copies of the instructor’s posts to several media outlets and several colleges where she works, expressing concern that Reeves’s racial attitudes might affect her grading. Reeves said she was “blindsided” and that she wished that if “someone were that upset they would've come to me first.” She denied ever basing a grade on anything other than tests, papers, class discussion participation and attendance. A former student of Reeves’s interview by the Times who did not give his name said Reeves was not a racist.

Joe Cardona, a spokesman for Rowan University, where Reeves works, said administrators don't condone the posts' language and were looking into the student complaint. Dan Hanson, a Widener University spokesman, said the institution doesn't approve of "racism of any nature," and would take appropriate action after learning more about the case. Andrea Stanton, a spokeswoman for Rowan College at Gloucester County, said it had received an anonymous complaint and forwarded it to the office of equity and diversity for investigation. Reeves told the Times she’s already unfriended many friends on Facebook who were former students and said she would not friend students in the future. She could not immediately be reached for additional comment.

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