Duquesne U. Faculty Oversight Body Recommends Rehiring Prof Dismissed for Using Racial Slur in Class
“The president has received the report and will review its recommendations in their entirety before issuing a decision”
Here’s what happened with this professor. He used the ‘N’ word in class as he explained why no one should use it. It’s good that they’re trying to bring him back.
Duquesne University asked to bring back professor fired for using racial slur in class
A faculty-elected oversight body recommends that Duquesne University President Ken Gormley rehire Gary Shank, the education professor fired for using a racial slur during a virtual lecture on race and language in September.
“While Dr. Shank’s use of the N-word was misguided, it was not malicious,” concludes a report by the University Grievance Committee for Faculty, which reviewed Shank’s case, including by conducting interviews and holding a hearing. “Therefore, while sanction of Dr. Shank’s behavior is warranted, it does not reach the level requiring dismissal.”
Per the university’s handbook, Gormley has 15 business days from the Jan. 14 report to decide whether to accept or reject the recommendation to reinstate Shank — or until the end of next week, Friday, Feb. 5.
“The president has received the report and will review its recommendations in their entirety before issuing a decision,” Gabriel Welsch, the university’s vice president of marketing and communications, said by email.
Shank, a tenured faculty member in Duquesne’s School of Education since 1997, was fired Oct. 7 for what Gormley and other top university officials deemed “serious misconduct.” Shank’s termination came less than a month after the university suspended him for using the slur multiple times during a Sept. 9 educational psychology class held online. Shank said he was using the word and encouraging students to use it only in “a pedagogical sense.”
His firing drew criticism from civil liberties groups — including the American Association of University Professors and Philadelphia-based Foundation for Individual Rights in Education — who argued that Duquesne University was violating its own rules as well as national standards regarding academic freedom.
The grievance committee pointed out that the incident marks the first time Shank has been formally disciplined in decades of teaching.
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