Duquesne University Professor Gary Shank
A Pennsylvania professor has been put on leave after footage showed him saying the n-word in class and telling students it was fine to use the racial slur ‘in a pedagogical sense’.
Duquesne University Professor Gary Shank was placed on paid leave pending an investigation over his alleged use of the racist language during a virtual class Thursday.
A video of the incident, posted on Twitter Friday, revealed the professor telling students he was ‘giving them permission’ to use the n-word in the lesson and telling them it ‘was a very commonly used word’ when he was young.
He is also heard telling the class people would throw around the term ‘n****r rich’ if they had some extra cash and asks students whether the term is still used today.
The shocking footage was shared on social media by someone thought to be a student in the professor’s educational psychology class.
It shows a tablet screen with a slide presentation titled ‘Race (from a cultural sense)’ and reading: ‘Based on perceived physical differences. Values assigned to race is cultural not physical.’
The top corner of the screen shows a man thought to be Shank hosting the class remotely.
‘I’m giving you permission to use the word okay,’ a man believed to be Shank is heard saying.
‘Because we’re using the word in a pedagogical sense.’
He then asks: ‘What’s the one word about race that we’re not allowed to use?’
When met with silence, he continues: ‘I’ll give you a hint – it begins with ‘n’.
‘It’s even hard to say okay – I’ll tell you the word.’
He then reinforces that he is only using the word to ‘make a point’.
Pennsylvania professor Gary Shank has been put on leave after footage showed him saying the n-word in class and telling students it was fine to use the racial slur ‘in a pedagogical sense’. Pictured the virtual class
A video of the incident, posted on Twitter Friday, revealed the professor telling students he was ‘giving them permission’ to use the n-word in the lesson and telling them it ‘was a very commonly used word’ when he was young. Pictured the footage of the class
‘Again I’m not using it in any way other than to demonstrate a point. Fair enough? You there Nick?’ he asks the student.
The student replies that he is there and Shank tells him ‘that word is n****r’.
‘When I was a young man that was a very commonly used word,’ he continues before reeling off some examples of its derogatory use.
‘You know what brazil nuts are right?’ he asks, before adding: ‘When I was a kid people called them n****r toes.’
He gives another example: ‘When I had a little extra money and I was spending it extravagantly, somebody might say I was n****r rich.’
The professor asks if the phrases would be acceptable nowadays to which the student replies ‘no’.
Duquesne University said in a statement to CBS News that an investigation was underway and Shank had been placed on paid leave in the meantime.
Another professor will take over the course, the private Catholic university in Pittsburgh added.
Shank’s profile has also been taken down from the university’s website.
The man believed to be Shank is also heard telling the class people used to throw around the term ‘n****r rich’ when someone had some extra cash and asks students whether the term was still used today. Duquesne University (pictured) said Shank had been placed on paid leave
Dean of the Duquesne University’s School of Education Gretchen Generett sent a letter to students in the class condemning Shank’s language as ‘troubling and disturbing.’
‘To be clear, I believe that there is never a time, pedagogically or otherwise, for a professor to create a hostile learning environment. I know this from my experience as a student, a professor, and now as Interim Dean of the School of Education,’ Generett wrote, reported CBS.
‘Using the ‘N word’ or seemingly encouraging students to use that word is not in keeping with the mission of the University, the School of Education, or the Pennsylvania Department of Education.’
‘As an educator, you should always be mindful of the impact of your actions on the students you are obligated by the profession to teach,’ Generett added.
‘Your intentions are of no consequence when a student’s learning is disrupted by what you believe to be okay. Your actions are what students will remember.’
DailyMail.com reached out to Duquesne University for comment.