Bad Call, Professor, Using the 'N-Word' On First Day of Class

By William Vogeler, Esq. on August 30, 2018 | Last updated on March 21, 2019

The first day of class is always a challenge, but it should never be offensive.

Professor Paul Zweir didn't get that memo. For some hard-to-handle reason, he decided to challenge a black student with a question about the "N-word."

To be clear, he did not euphemize the racial slur. He said it.

The "N-Word"

People will use the "N-word" as long as there are rappers, writers, and black history. But it's not alright at Emory School of Law, where Zweir teaches torts.

Well, he was teaching torts until he practically committed one the first week of class. Administrators assigned his class to another professor while they try to figure out what Zweir was thinking.

He was discussing Fisher v. Carrousel Motor Hotel, a case about a hotel employee who told a black customer, a "Negro cannot be served." The professor muffed it when he used the "N-word" instead.

"I do not condone the language and my purpose was not to support such speech, but to teach about it and against it," he said and apologized the next day.

Student Outcry

The incident triggered an investigation and a student rally. Wrenica Archibald, president of the Black Law Students Association, said the N-word is inappropriate in any circumstance.

Zweir, in a letter explaining himself, said he was shocked at the reaction. He said he didn't mean to offend anyone.

He said he may have conflated the Fisher case with Caldor Inc. v. Bowden, in which a store manager barked, "you n***** boys make me sick."

That was for the next lecture. Well, not anymore.

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