Faculty Panel Recommends Reinstating Professor Fired Over N-Word

January 27, 2021

A faculty grievance committee at Duquesne University, in Pittsburgh, is calling for the reinstatement of an education professor who was fired for using a racial slur in class, The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reported. The faculty committee concluded that Gary Shank’s decision to use the N-word in a child and adolescent psychology class was “misguided” but “not malicious.”

The committee faulted Shank's "extremely poor judgment" but concluded that "while sanction of Dr. Shank’s behavior is warranted, it does not reach the level requiring dismissal."

A Duquesne spokeswoman said the university’s president would review the faculty committee’s report and its recommendations.

Shank was dismissed by Duquesne in October after he told a class he was giving them permission to use the N-word, “because we’re using the word in a pedagogical sense.” He went on to cite examples of phrases incorporating the N-word that he said were commonly used in his youth.

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