UO professor dresses in blackface at Halloween party; Office of Affirmative Action and Equal Opportunity to investigate

Update: Nov. 3, 2016 at 12:55 pm. According to KEZI, the professor has been identified as Nancy Shurtz. 

Update: Nov. 2, 2016 at 3:10 pm. Senior Vice President and Provost Scott Coltrane said at the faculty senate meeting the professor has been placed on administrative leave.

The Office of Affirmative Action and Equal Opportunity is investigating the incident to determine whether university policy was violated. 

An email sent out to the University of Oregon community on Tuesday evening condemned the actions of a UO Law School professor for attending an off-campus party in blackface on Halloween.

“We condemn this action unequivocally as anathema to the University of Oregon’s cherished values of racial diversity and inclusion. The use of blackface, even in jest at a Halloween party, is patently offensive and reinforces historically racist stereotypes. It was a stupid act and is in no way defensible,” UO President Michael Schill said in the email.

On Nov. 2, a petition demanding that the professor resign was started by Moorisha Bey-Taylor, a former Law School student.

“On November 1, 2016 the University of Oregon Administration released a statement denouncing the actions of a University of Oregon law professor wearing blackface at an off campus Halloween event,” the petition reads. “We the alumni, faculty, staff, current students and greater community members of the University of Oregon are deeply offended and outraged by the actions of this law professor and hereby demand the immediate resignation of said professor.”

The petition will be delivered to the dean of the Law School Michael Moffitt. As of this posting, the petition has 50 signatures, half-way to its goal of 100.

UO officials were contacted by the Emerald but were unable to comment at the time of this posting.

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Max Thornberry

Max Thornberry

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