Students at Kansas University are demanding the firing of a white teacher of two years, Andrea Quenette, 33, an assistant professor of communication studies. She was teaching a communications class to 9 students, all white except for 1 black student, on how to best handle the previous night’s contentious university-wide forum on race and discrimination moderated by the Chancellor.
During that discussion, Ms. Quenette used the “n” word to describe the situation. Five students filed racial discrimination suits against her, adding that she was unsympathetic to them. They believe she makes the class “unsafe”.
According to five students who filed the discrimination suit and who wrote a long letter demanding her termination, this is what happened that made them unsafe and caused them to accuse her of racial discrimination:
“We students in the class began discussing possible ways to bring these issues up in our classes when COMS 930 instructor Dr. Andrea Quenette abruptly interjected with deeply disturbing remarks. Those remarks began with her admitted lack of knowledge of how to talk about racism with her students because she is white. “As a white woman I just never have seen the racism…It’s not like I see ‘Nigger’ spray painted on walls…” she said.”
Professor Quenette has been relieved of all her teaching duties and will hire an attorney. She also said she believes academic freedom protects her comments and that they were not discriminatory.
“I didn’t intend to offend anyone,” she said. “I didn’t intend to hurt anyone. I didn’t direct my words at any individual or group of people.”
Usually, discrimination means you discriminated or insulted someone because of their race, gender, religion, but in this case, the students are defining it as mentioning a “bad” word while describing a situation.
The lead up to the conversation was when a student asked how they could talk about race issues in their own classes. Diversity is on the syllabus. The conversation turned to how the university should address racial problems.
She was comparing incidents at KU to those on other campuses. She said if anyone expressed an objection to the comment, she would have apologized but they didn’t.
One must wonder if courage was lacking in these students that they had to do this behind her back or perhaps they decided they were offended after discussing it or should I say gossiping about it? It’s a possibility though I don’t know.
Some students took to social media and began the #FireAndreaQuenette campaign.
The students have probably never complained about the word being used in music, movies, et al, and it seems a little hypocritical and way too PC. It’s ironic that the little cupcakes want to shut down free speech in a communications class. They’re also vicious in demanding the firing of the teacher – they’re destroying her career.
One of the “get her fired” tweeters Jylessa Hampton, a first-year communications graduate student, who is not even in Quenette’s class, signed the letter demanding her termination.
She said it won’t be safe for her to teach on campus next year.
“People talked about being scared to return to class, scared to have her in charge of their grades,” Hampton said. “I don’t think it will be a safe environment for me” teaching next year, she told the Lawrence-Journal World.
Mean Ms. Hampton is in Women’s Studies and is working on a paper titled, Policing Blackness: An Intersectional Case Study of Police Misconduct and Black Women.
Quenette told the newspaper the campaign has been “very hurtful.”
Another comment from the letter:
After Ph.D. student Ian Beier presented strong evidence about low retention and graduation rates among Black students as being related to racism and a lack of institutional support, Dr. Quenette responded with, “Those students are not leaving school because they are physically threatened everyday but because of academic performance.” This statement reinforces several negative ideas: that violence against students of color is only physical, that students of color are less academically inclined and able, and that structural and institutional cultures, policies, and support systems have no role in shaping academic outcomes. Dr. Quenette’s discourse was uncomfortable, unhelpful, and blatantly discriminatory.
That’s unlikely. They’re leaving because they are not doing the work.
This is the lengthy letter shared online.
Quenette’s class in question is an undergraduate class but the graduate students are involved.
“It was outright racism,” said Amy Schumacher, a first-year Ph.D. student who was in the class, which she said is composed of nine white students and one black student. “I don’t think that it was an open dialogue — she wasn’t receptive to hearing any other ideas.”
Schumacher said she believes Quenette “actively violated policies” during the discussion, hurt students’ feelings — including the one black student, who left “devastated” — and has a previous history of being unsympathetic to students.
In other words, if the result is hurt feelings, it’s unacceptable language. So much for free speech. It doesn’t help that the administrators of these universities are cowards who won’t stand up for free speech.
As hard as I try, I don’t see how she was discriminating. She was using language that was not PC, like using the “f…” word that libs love so.
A new Pew Research poll found that 40% of Millennials are OK with limiting speech offensive to minorities.
God help us. We had better start fighting for free speech.