DUQUESNE UNIVERSITY PROFESSOR PLACE ON PAID LEAVE FOR USING N-WORD DURING LECTURE. A Duquesne University professor has been placed on paid leave after he used the N-word multiple times during an online lecture. A video of Professor Gary Shank using the racial slur was shared to social media on Friday (Sep. 11) by a student. “When I was a young man, that was a very commonly used word. You know what Brazil nuts are, right?” Shank asked his class. “When I was a kid, people called them [N-word] toes.” Seconds later, he dropped the racial slur again.
“When I had a little extra money, and I was spending it extravagantly, somebody might say I was [N-word] rich,” he continued. Shank then told his class that it was ok for him to use the word because he used it in a “pedagogical sense.”
Within moments of learning about the incident, School of Education Dean Gretchen Generett sent out a letter to the students in Shank’s class. “To be clear, I believe that there is never a time, pedagogically or otherwise, for a professor to create a hostile learning environment,” she wrote. “I know this from my experience as a student, a professor and now as Interim Dean of the School of Education. 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.”