Petition created at Rutgers after white student quotes racial slur

A white Rutgers law student used the N-word while quoting a legal opinion — igniting backlash and starting a petition demanding a policy on slurs at the New Jersey school, according to a report. 

The unnamed first-year student, a middle-aged woman studying law for a second career, uttered the slur while reciting a line from a 1993 legal opinion during a criminal law class’ virtual open hours in October, the New York Times reported.

In response, fellow black first-year law students at Rutgers Law in April passed around a petition condemning the student’s use of the offensive term and called on both their peer and the professor to apologize.

The students also urged the school to form a policy on use of racial epithets, according to The Times. 

“At the height of a ‘racial reckoning,’ a responsible adult should know not to use a racial slur regardless of its use in a 1993 opinion,” the petition reads, the Times reported. 

“We vehemently condemn the use of the N-word by the student and the acquiescence of its usage.”

Professor Vera Bergelson, who was teaching the class when the N-word was used, told The Times that she didn’t hear the slur when it was said. 

“I wish I could go back in time to that office hour and confront it directly,” she told the paper of the Oct. 28 incident.

The law student allegedly said the slur during a class while reciting a 1993 legal opinion.
The law student allegedly said the slur during a class while reciting a 1993 legal opinion.
Alamy Stock Photo

Bergelson said she only discovered what happened shortly after April 6, when the petition began circulating five months after the incident.

The professor convened a meeting with the class, and apologized, as did the student who used the word, The Times reported. 

Meanwhile, Adam Scales, a black Rutgers Law professor, said using the “N-word” as a euphemism clouds the word’s offensiveness and history, according to The Times.

“There is something extremely antiseptic about the term ‘N-word,’” he told the outlet. “There is something that softens the impact.” 

Credit: NYPOST

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