Emory professor put on leave after allegedly using racial slur

An Emory University professor who was the source of controversy in August for using a racial slur in class has been placed on administrative leave after reports that he has repeated the slur.

According to a statement provided to FOX 5, Professor Paul Zwier used the “n-word” in a classroom on Aug. 23 when lecturing first-year law students about a case stemming from the 1960’s civil rights movement in the South.

Now on Monday, Interim Emory Law Dean James B. Hughes Jr. told FOX 5 that reports show Zwier "recently repeated the same racial slur."

Speaking to the student newspaper The Emory Wheel after the first report, Zwier said he used the racial slur while teaching the tort of offensive battery and he should have said "the 'n-word'" instead of saying it in full.

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"The teaching point was to say that the racial slur makes the nature of the contact less important, until it might merge into another tort we will study called intentional infliction of emotional distress," Zwier wrote in an Aug. 25 email to the Wheel. "The case is not about condoning racial speech, but the opposite, the potential injury that can be caused by racist language and how the court might address it in tort law."

After this reported instance, Hughes said that Zwier has placed on administrative leave, saying the university's "commitment to the core values of diversity, inclusion and respect is longstanding and non-negotiable." 

"As we continue to gather the facts regarding these allegations, it is my pledge to continue to uphold the values that guide our university, and to update the Emory Law community as we work together to heal and grow,” Hughes said.