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Racial Slur Used By White Student Sparks Debate At Rutgers Law

Rutgers Law students are calling for action after a White law student quoted a racial slur.

The first-year law student repeated a line from a 1993 legal opinion while quoting from case law during a professor’s virtual office hours, The New York Times reports. In response, law students have started a petition calling on the university to create a policy addressing the mention of racial slurs at Rutgers Law.

“At the height of a ‘racial reckoning,’ a responsible adult should know not to use a racial slur regardless of its use in a 1993 opinion,” states the petition. “We vehemently condemn the use of the N-word by the student and the acquiescence of its usage.” 

SCHOOL RESPONSE

Rutgers faculty discussed whether to voluntarily bar racial epithets from being used in class, according to Inside Higher Ed.

“I share the views of several of our faculty members who understand and express to their students that this language is hateful and can be triggering, even in the context of a case, and ask that it not be used,” David Lopez, co-dean of the law school, wrote in a schoolwide email.

Other professors were not so quick to offer support citing concerns around the First Amendment.

“Although we all deplore the use of racist epithets, the idea that a faculty member or law student cannot quote a published court decision that itself quotes a racial or other otherwise objectionable word as part of the record of the case is problematic and implicates matters of academic freedom and free speech,” says law professor Gary L. Francione.

Sources: The New York Times, Inside Higher Ed

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