Campus Free Speech

This Professor Is Still Out of the Classroom After Offending Her Students Months Ago

University of Kansas investigates Andrea Quenette for using improper language and making non-PC statements.

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Quenette
KU

Andrea Quenette is the victim of a witch hunt. A University of Kansas assistant professor, Quenette is on leave while the administration completes its review of her allegedly inappropriate behavior. 

Quenette made the unfortunate mistake of trying to speak candidly about race after her students prompted her to address the recent protests on campus. She conceded that as a white person, she had trouble putting herself in the shoes of activists. 

"As a white woman I just never have seen the racism… It's not like I see 'Nigger' spray-painted on walls," she said, according to a student-initiated petition to get her fired. 

As I wrote in a recent column for The Daily Beast, Quenette erred in using offensive language, but she ought not to be punished for it: 

But she did not use inappropriate language to describe any of her students—or to describe anyone else. She was describing her own blindness to racial animus. Could she have used different language? Sure. Should she have? Probably. But genuine self-reflection isn't usually rehearsed. This wasn't a public address—it was a classroom discussion about a controversial topic. Some imprecision should be expected, and tolerated. 

One can hold the position, I suppose, that it is never okay to utter the n-word, even in a merely explanatory way. I would argue that doing so gives the word additional power to inspire fear, like saying "You Know Who" instead of "Voldemort." Wendy Kaminer, a lawyer, feminist, and former board member of the American Civil Liberties Union, argues persuasively that there is an "obvious difference between quoting a word in the context of discussing language, literature or prejudice and hurling it as an epithet." 

In any case, given that Quenette's intention was to shed light on her own lack of experience with racism, rather than to offend her students, it seems like a simple apology and promise to be more cautious with hurtful words ought to have sufficed. 

Full thing here

Instead of seeking a dialogue with Quenette, her students undertook a campaign to run her off campus. Such is the fate of all too many people who don't immediately obey the dictates of the illiberal mob. 

NEXT: Protesting Donald Trump is Now a Federal Crime

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  1. Thanks for breaking the Trump streak, Robby.

  2. In any case, given that Quenette’s intention was to shed light on her own lack of experience with racism, rather than to offend her students, it seems like a simple apology and promise to be more cautious with hurtful words ought to have sufficed.

    Sod that, you PC slavers. She had nothing to apologize for.

    1. Something something cosmotarian something something cocktail parties.

    2. No kidding.

      You’re an enabler, Robby. I hope you know that.

      1. i’m sure this will come as a shock and surprise to him, and he will apologize and promise to improve.

      2. Meh. I hardly think these people are looking for Robby’s approval. You catch more flies with honey that vinegar.

    3. I could possibly get behind a Hillary Apology. The one where she says, “I’m sorry you are so fucking dumb you think I did something wrong”

      But even that seems like asking too much.

      1. I take complete responsibility for any hurt feelings this may have caused.*

        *Provided that “responsibility” does not suggest any consequences are forthcoming.

    4. Oh come on, a little self-criticism session never hurt anyone. And we don’t have to drag Special Prosecutor all the way from Moscow for it, either.

    5. Is college supposed to prepare students for their career? If so, the sooner that they grow a backbone the better. If it’s an end to itself, I guess they can demand any kind of treatment you can get away with. But let’s be honest about the goal.

      1. -You +they

    6. Its been pretty clear since the UVA rape story that Robbie shares some premises and assumptions with proggies. It comes out in these reflexive “to be sure, I’m on the Right Side of this” statements.

      Which is OK, to a point, as long as he has some self-awareness and is trying to overcome it.

      1. Proggies are distinguished by their willingness to use force to make what they want happen more than their actual beliefs on how things should be. Isn’t one of the great things about libertarianism that you can personally believe whatever you want as long as you don’t promote using force to enforce your own particular values?

  3. Wendy Kaminer, a lawyer, feminist, and former board member of the American Civil Liberties Union, argues persuasively that there is an “obvious difference between quoting a word in the context of discussing language, literature or prejudice and hurling it as an epithet.”

    As a free speech absolutist, I don’t think that this distinction is all that important. There used to be a time when the ACLU agreed with me on that…

    1. The distinction isn’t legally important, but it is certainly important interpersonally.

  4. Rock Chalk Chickenhawk.

    1. Rabbits Foot. And a Half.

  5. I met a half black, half Japanese guy. Called him the ?word. He felt devalued.

    1. ” Called him the ?word. He felt devalued.”

      Fabeulous

    2. Funny post i have read in a LONG time. thanks

    3. +1 Deliverator

  6. “…Quenette erred in using offensive language, but she ought not to be punished for it:”

    What was her error? If memory serves, there were allegations that the word “nigger” was written in bathrooms in different settings in several universities. Is she not allowed to use a word in context and without animus behind it?

    1. No. I can’t even believe you used it.

      1. Yes, C&W should be punished for using a taboo-word! The Gods must be appeased!

        1. (swims away furiously from army of SJW sharks with laser beams on their foreheads)

    2. The phrasing is Robbie’s signature.

  7. Some students always try to do stuff to their teachers, that’s nothing new. What’s new is that university administrations let themselves be used in this way.

  8. “”As a white woman I just never have seen the racism? It’s not like I see ‘Nigger’ spray-painted on walls,” she said, according to a student-initiated petition to get her fired. “

    I was recently informed by Jason Stanley and Shaun Harper that no one in Universities “over-reacts to slurs” when merely *mentioned*, and that such a thing is an exaggeration made by people trying to excuse actual-racism.

    And at least one of them is an self-proclaimed expert on slurs. So shut up and stop whining you racists.

  9. there is an “obvious difference between quoting a word in the context of discussing language, literature or prejudice and hurling it as an epithet.”

    This makes me wonder, if a particular section of today’s college crowd was shown Blazing Saddles, would they complain it’s racist? Would they sit there not understanding what the hell is going on?

    1. addendum, they play a rap song that said the word ‘nigger’ a few times, but not this song. This is just funnier.

    2. I Can’t Drive 55 would have been funnier.

    3. I can die now.

    4. Jawdroppingly horrible … it’s hard to believe that was an accident, though I can’t imagine who’d be so vulgar to do such a thing. Obviously the use of the n-word in this case should be cause for termination. It may even have been a crime … not against the state, which has no authority to censor such vulgarity, but against CNN, which has property rights that were potentially violated.

  10. “As a white woman I just never have seen the racism? It’s not like I see ‘Nigger’ spray-painted on walls,” she said, according to a student-initiated petition to get her fired.

    So… I are bigots using some sort of invisible ink that only PoC can see? I already knew republicans use coded speech and racist dog whistles that only liberals can hear but this seems to be a new development…

    1. I think she was probably trying to say that what racism there is is not as obvious as “nigger” painted on walls.

  11. If I’m following, uttering the statement “When a white person says the word “nigger”, they are committing a hate crime” is a hate crime?

    1. It’s hate crimes all the way down, Sahib. And if you’ll excuse me, I must go and commit ritual suicide, having committed a hate crime myself now.

      1. Ritual suicide? Stop appropriating Japanese culture you racist.

  12. She said “Jehovah.” Stone her.

    1. You had to bring the Jews in, didn’t you.

    2. HE SAID IT!! HE SAID IT AGAIN!! (stones seamus)

  13. Insane. The notion that you can’t even mention certain words in any kind of academic context is absolutely ridiculous.

  14. This article was one of the top links on Yahoo when I opened up my browser this afternoon.

    Well done Rico!

    1. And that’s why I don’t care when Robby makes stupid equivocations. More of this shit needs to be challenged where people will notice, even if it means some social signalling to tell people you aren’t one of the bad people.

      1. The problem is that when you say, “Quenette erred in using offensive language, but she ought not to be punished for it:”…

        ….is that you’re effectively giving up the principle of free speech in exchange for a weak plea that people ‘be more tolerant’ of awful-shitty speech.

        Did she “err”, really, because *someone else got offended*? Its suddenly the Speaker’s fault when other people ‘take offense’?

        And all we should hope for is that people ‘not be so harsh in their punishments of offenders’? Rather than question the right of people being punished for speech in the first place?

        In Robby’s begging for leniency, it basically admits that “offending people” is a crime.

        1. Free Minds, as long as no one is offended.

  15. Her first mistake was assuming that universities are for the genuine development of human minds. Perhaps at one time they were, but now, they’re for two things: technical education (engineering, nursing, and such), and straight up indoctrination.

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