The University of Massachusetts at Amherst put a professor on leave from teaching for the rest of the semester after she showed classes extra-credit videos that students found offensive. One such video, a parody of the song “Bust Down Thotiana,” was said to demean women, and another included a joke about the Holocaust. In the latter case, students put new subtitles to a scene from Downfall, a much-parodied 2004 German film about Adolf Hitler, saying, “Don’t you dare finish that sentence or I’ll send you to a chamber. And it won’t be the chamber of commerce. I can guarantee that.” Previously, swastikas were found on campus.
MassLive.com reported that the professor, Catherine West Lowry, senior lecturer in accounting, emailed students to apologize. "My intent was never to offend or upset anyone,” she reportedly wrote. “I was unaware of what was going on on campus. While I’ve received hundreds of wonderful, thoughtful, creative videos over the past 11 years, this issue, along with an earlier issue this semester, has caused the end of these extra credit videos.”
The university said in a statement that the Isenberg School of Management suspended Lowry pending a full review after it concluded that “objectively offensive material had been presented to students.” UMass Amherst “takes personnel matters and any complaints from faculty, staff, and/or students very seriously,” it said.