On Halloween of 2016, law professor Nancy Shurtz, who worked at the University of Oregon Law School, thought it would be a smart idea to throw a party at her home while she was in a blackface “costume” — and invite students. Her inspiration? Dr. Damon Tweedy‘s best-selling memoir Black Man in a White Coat. She wore a white lab coat and stethoscope, with blackface and an afro wig. She claimed she wore the costume to “provoke discussion.” See the insanity below:
Aren’t there other ways for teachers to provoke discussion? Assign a book? Debate a topic? Show a film? Bring in a guest speakers? Blackface is not provoking discussion, it’s pure stupidity.
The Register-Guard reports, “The Halloween incident set off a firestorm across the university, with many law school students and faculty calling on Shurtz to resign and others defending her costume as ill-advised but not a fireable offense. The UO determined after an investigation that Shurtz violated UO policy by committing racial harassment.” Shurtz apologized for the costume but refused to step down.
After a a brief leave and a yearlong sabbatical, the professor will be returning to the University of Oregon Law School. Shurtz teaches tax law and will teach two classes in the fall 2018 term and two in the spring 2019 term. However, the school did not make an official announcement about her return. See the tweet below:
In reaction, the school tweeted this, “Some of you might feel like not announcing (Shurtz’s return) was like sweeping it under the rug. Since that day, there is no sweeping it under the rug.”
Imagine paying a ridiculous amount of money for law school and you may have to sit in class, because some classes are required, with a teacher who went in blackface.