Pitt Law adjunct professor resigns over racial slur


Sarah Cutshall | Visual Editor

A Pitt Law adjunct professor announced his resignation Wednesday after using a racial slur.

By Martha Layne, Assistant News Editor

A Pitt Law adjunct professor announced his resignation Wednesday after using a racial slur in class. The professor, who has not been named, used the “n-word” during an in-class discussion regarding a case study containing offensive language.

Pitt Law Dean Amy Wildermuth, Vice Dean Haider Ala Hamoudi and Dean of Students Allie Linsenmeyer sent an email on Wednesday to law students informing them of the professor’s resignation. According to the email, the professor announced to the class Wednesday at 1 p.m. his immediate resignation and expressed his regret.

The email said the usage of racial slurs, no matter the context, would not be tolerated at the University.

“We condemn the use of the word, and we believe that saying the word and words like it, even in an academic context, is deeply hurtful,” the email said.

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Pitt spokesperson David Seldin said the University would not comment on personnel matters. He also did not comment on the name of the professor or which course this happened in.

A similar event occurred at Duquesne University last month when education professor Gary Shank was fired for using a racial slur, specifically the n-word, during a class.

Chris Bonneau, the president of the University Senate, said racial slurs should never be used and especially not in an academic setting.

“My understanding is that the individual resigned voluntarily. I think that the harm using this word causes far outweighs any potential pedagogical benefit,” Bonneau, a political science professor, said. “The word should not be said in the classroom, full stop.”