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Course on hate speech canceled after racial slur controversy

Anthropology professor Lawrence Rosen sparked controversy on Feb. 6 when he used a racial slur during a lecture on oppressive symbolism, causing several students to walk out of the classroom. Rosen announced today in an email to his students that the course, ANT 212: Cultural Freedoms — Hate Speech, Blasphemy, and Pornography, will be canceled. 

“I have reluctantly decided to cancel this year’s offering of Anthropology 212,” Rosen wrote in an email obtained by the University Press Club.


After Rosen used the word “n****r” three times in his lecture, three students walked out on the class; one student later returned to confront him about his use of the word, using an expletive himself. While these students found Rosen’s use of the word offensive, Department of Anthropology Chair Carolyn Rouse wrote a Letter to the Editor defending Rosen on Feb. 8, stating that she felt bad for students who left the class without “trusting the process.” Others, including Princeton Writing Program lecturer Timothy Haupt and graphic design consultant Waqas Jawaid ’10, published letters defending the students who walked out.

According to the University Press Club, acting University spokesperson Michael Hotchkiss stated that Rosen acted without pressure from the University.

The controversy comes in the wake of President Eisgruber’s State of the University letter, in which he named free speech as a core value of the University’s mission but also a “difficult and demanding” one. 

This is a breaking story and will be updated as more information becomes available.