Race row erupts at Rutgers law school after white student uses the N-word while ...

A race row has erupted at Rutgers Law School after a white law student used the N-word while quoting a 1993 legal case.   

The first year student - a woman who has not been named - used the slur in a class of three during Professor Vera Bergelson's virtual office hours last October. 

In discussing a case she had repeated a quote from a defendant which was then used in an opinion written by former State Supreme Court judge, 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 go to Trenton and come back with my [N-word]s".'

One of her two other classmates at the New Jersey school, a white student, then contacted her to say she should have not used the word.   

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After one of those present shared their concerns with black classmate, a petition calling on the mature student and Professor Bergelson to apologize circulated. 

The petition reads: '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. We vehemently condemn the use of the N-word by the student and the acquiescence of its usage.' 

A faculty meeting Friday also discussed barring the word's use in class, The New York Times reports. 

Others at the school, including former New Jersey attorney general John Farmer Jr and ex state public advocate Ronald K. Chen, have signed a statement in support of Bergelson and the student. 

A race row has erupted at Rutgers Law School, pictured, after a white law student used the N-word while quoting a 1993 legal case during a class last October 

Professor David Lopez said: 'I share the views of several of our faculty members who understand and express to their students that this language is hateful and can be triggering, even in the context of a case, and ask that it not be used.'

But Professor Gary L. Francione has called a ban 'problematic' and 'implicating matters of academic freedom and free speech'.

He said: 'Although we all deplore the use of racist epithets, the idea that a faculty member or law student cannot quote a published court decision that itself quotes a racial or other otherwise objectionable word as part of the record of the case is problematic and implicates matters of academic freedom and free speech.'


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