- The Washington Times - Tuesday, February 13, 2018

Princeton University has canceled a class on hate speech after a verbal altercation between a student and a professor in which the N- and F-words were used.

In an email obtained by the Weekly Standard, professor emeritus Lawrence Rosen informed students that he had “reluctantly” decided to cancel Anthropology 212, “Cultural Freedoms: Hate Speech, Blasphemy and Pornography.”

“I think it’s only fair that you be free, before too much of the semester has passed, to move ahead in another course of your choosing,” Mr. Rosen wrote in the Feb. 12 missive.

Mr. Rosen, an award-winning anthropologist who has taught at the elite institution for 40 years, drew national attention last week after he used the N-word several times during a discussion about hate speech.

According to audio recordings of the class obtained by the Daily Princetonian, Mr. Rosen presented students with a hypothetical about 10 minutes into the lecture: “Which is more provocative: A white man walks up to a black man and punches him in the nose, or a white man walks up to a black man and calls him a n–-r?”

Students said he used the racial slur two additional times throughout the course of the discussion. Several students reportedly walked out of the lecture. There were about six black students in the class, the Princetonian reported.

When one male student asked the professor if he would continue to use the word, Mr. Rosen reportedly responded, “Yes, if I think it’s necessary.” The professor said the word was “supposed to deliver a gut punch.”

The male student left the classroom but returned shortly thereafter to confront Mr. Rosen, standing inches from his face and shouting, “F– you!”

The decision to cancel the class comes less than a week after Carolyn Rouse, chair of the anthropology department at Princeton, defended her colleague’s use of the word.

“The students signed up for a course about hate speech, blasphemy, and pornography, so Tuesday’s class introduced them to the topics of the course,” Ms. Rouse, who is black, wrote in the Princetonian. “Like every semester, at Princeton or Columbia Law, professor Lawrence Rosen started the class by breaking a number of taboos in order to get the students to recognize their emotional response to cultural symbols.”

Mr. Rosen has been awarded a MacArthur Fellowship and a Guggenheim Fellowship for Social Sciences for his research.

Sign up for Daily Newsletters

Manage Newsletters

Copyright © 2020 The Washington Times, LLC. Click here for reprint permission.

Please read our comment policy before commenting.


Click to Read More and View Comments

Click to Hide