Quarrel erupts at Rutgers Law School after white college student uses N word while citing 1993 lawsuit: Classmates clash with prominent professors over call for complete ban on the word
- The freshman – a woman who has not been named – had used the blemish during Professor Vera Bergelson’s virtual office hours last October
- While discussing a case, she had reiterated a defendant’s quote used in an advisory report from former Supreme Court Justice Alan B. Handler.
- The student said, “He said, um – and I’ll use a racial word, but it’s a quote. He says, “I’m going to Trenton and come back with mine [N-word]s “‘
- That sparked a fierce response from her classmates at New Jersey Law School with a petition calling on the adult student and Bergelson to apologize.
- A faculty meeting on Friday also discussed the use of the word in the classroom
- Others at the school, including former Attorney General John Farmer Jr. from New Jersey, have signed a statement in support of Bergelson and the student.
An argument broke out at Rutgers Law School after a white law student used the N word while citing a 1993 lawsuit.
The freshman – a woman who has not been named – used the blemish in a class of three during Professor Vera Bergelson’s virtual office hours last October.
While discussing a case, she had reiterated a quote from a defendant that was subsequently used in an advisory opinion by former Supreme Court Justice Alan B. Handler.
The student said, “He said, um – and I’ll use a racial word, but it’s a quote. He says, “I’m going to Trenton and come back with mine [N-word]s “. ‘
One of her two other classmates at the New Jersey school, a white student, then contacted her to say she shouldn’t have used the word.
After one attendee shared their concerns with a black classmate, a petition went round calling on the adult student and Professor Bergelson to apologize.
The petition reads: ‘At the height of a’ racial reckoning ‘, a responsible adult should know not to use racist defamation, regardless of its use in a 1993 advisory. student and consent to its use. ‘
A faculty meeting on Friday also discussed the use of the word in class, The New York Times reports.
Others at the school, including former New Jersey Attorney General John Farmer Jr. and ex-state attorney Ronald K. Chen, have signed a statement in support of Bergelson and the student.
An argument broke out at Rutgers Law School, pictured, after a white law student used the N word while citing a 1993 lawsuit during an October class in October
Professor David Lopez said, “I share the views of some of our faculty members who understand and tell their students that this language is hateful and can be triggering, even in the context of a case, and asking not to use it.”
But Professor Gary L. Francione calls prohibition “problematic” and “implies issues of academic freedom and freedom of speech.”
He said, “ While we all lament the use of racist profanities, the idea that a faculty member or law student cannot cite a published court decision himself citing a racist or other otherwise offensive word as part of the case file is problematic and involves issues of academic freedom and freedom of speech. ‘
Professor Dennis M. Patterson added, “I don’t think the Law School should have rules that are stricter than the United States Constitution.”
Adam Scales, a black professor at Rutgers Law, said, “ There is something extremely antiseptic about the term ‘N word’. There is something that softens the impact. ‘
The freshman – a woman who has not been named – had used the blemish during Professor Vera Bergelson’s virtual office hours, pictured, last October.
He has signed Bergelson’s statement of support.
Professor Bergelson, 59, has said she did not give her the blemish used in class last October.
She said she was not made aware of the concerns raised when the petition was shared until months after the incident.
The student is said to have spoken to classmates at the time of the incident after raising concerns.
One of the students in the class then alerted others to a recording of the session, and Professor Lopez was told the students were concerned.
After the petition surfaced last month, Bergelson held a meeting in which he apologized for the incident.
She told The New York Times: ‘I wish I could go back in time to that consultation hour and confront it directly. I would never use the words in class. ‘
The student’s lawyer, Samantha Harris, said, “When you’re a lawyer, you hear all kinds of terrible things. You represent people who have said terrible things, who have done terrible things.
“You can’t guarantee a world without offensive language.”
DailyMail.com has contacted Harris and Rutgers for comment.