If this was being discussed in the context of classic literature, what is the problem?

Inside Higher Ed reports:

N-Word at the New School

Being a good writer and a good writing teacher don’t always go hand in hand. But for poet and novelist Laurie Sheck, they do. Sheck’s been a Pulitzer Prize finalist, held prestigious fellowships, written books and seen her work published in The New Yorker, The New York Times and Paris Review. She’s taught for 20 years — most recently at the New School — and consistently gets positive feedback from students. A good share of those students ask her to be their thesis adviser.

But with a new semester approaching, Sheck isn’t sure where she stands at the New School. She’s heard almost nothing from the institution since a June meeting, during which she was accused of saying the N-word in class while quoting the black writer James Baldwin.

Sheck is still under investigation — probably. She’s not sure, because the university officials she met with didn’t let her record the meeting (other than by allowing a union representative to take notes), and she’s never seen anything in writing on the case against her.

The school’s faculty union advised Sheck to consider taking a “conciliatory position,” such as by changing her curriculum, providing trigger warnings or having students read potentially offending passages themselves, instead of out loud.

But Sheck, who has appealed to the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education for help, wants to be fully exonerated — soon.

“I haven’t done anything wrong,” she said. “So what we’re trying to do here is get things out in the open. When these things are covert and people feel quietly intimidated into changing the syllabus, that’s not going to help students. It just feels like enough is enough.”


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