The Title IX office at Barnard College of Columbia University will not take action against a tenured professor who used the N-word while referring to a scene from the movie “8 Mile.”
Students filed a complaint against sociology professor Jonathan Reider after he used racial epithets in his “Culture in America” lecture in October. After meeting with students and reviewing a video recording of the lecture, administrators ruled this week that Reider’s language did not qualify as discriminatory harassment.
A Barnard spokesperson told The Columbia Spectator that Reider’s language did not surpass the threshold for discrimination and therefore “there was no basis for further investigation.”
Students expressed frustration with the school’s decision and that Bernard staff face no repercussions even though they engage in discriminatory practices. Some say tenure is a free ticket to avoid disciplinary action.
“For tenured professors, the only thing they can’t do is harm students. So they said that this doesn’t classify as harming students,” Sarah, a student in Reider’s class, said.
Sarah and classmates who filed the Title IX complaint are now concerned about attending Reider’s classes for the rest of the semester. Following the office’s decision, the group spoke to the department chair about “possible retaliation from the professor for speaking out.”
In keeping with their concerns, students who filed the complaint now have the option not to attend Reider’s classes as well as have their work graded by another professor to avoid conflict.