University Of Oregon: Professor Violated Harassment Policy With Blackface Halloween CostumeBy Emily Marks, UniversityHerald Reporter
The University of Oregon has announced that the professor who sported blackface as a Halloween costume violated its anti-harassment policy. This comes after the educator was suspended for the incident.
It was previously reported that a University of Oregon professor has been suspended for allegedly wearing blackface to a private Halloween costume party. President Michael Schill said that the incident happened at an off-campus party. Other faculty members and students were in attendance, too.
Schill did reveal, though, that the faculty member has apologized for the decision. The person involved has also expressed concern over its potential impact on members of the school's community.
Apparently, the professor chose the outfit based on a character, Dr. Damon Tweedy, from New York Times bestseller, "Black Man in a White Coat: A Doctor's Reflections on Race and Medicine." A group of 23 School of Law faculty members called for her resignation.
According to USA Today, the University of Oregon found that the professor's costume had a negative impact on the law school. It was noted that the issue made the atmosphere in the institution tense and hostile.
The professor, Nancy Shurtz, explained that she had no bad intention for wearing the costume. She intended for it to be used as a jumping board for discussions about racism in society.
On Dec. 21, the school's provost, Scott Coltrane, issued an official statement on the investigation. It was found that, although Shurtz had already asked for an apology for her costume, it still constituted harassment under the institution's anti-discrimination policies.
The investigation was conducted by the Barran Liebman LLP law firm in Portland. The AAEO office and UO general counsel Kevin Reed provided guidance and direction.
A redacted version of the report has been posted online. Coltrane expressed his hope that the community will turn its focus on professor Shurtz's shortcoming and, instead, extend efforts to the healing process by working together in making the university inclusive and welcoming to everyone.