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University of Louisiana Monroe acts against 'racist' posts by faculty

3 years 3 months 2 weeks ago Wednesday, June 10 2020 Jun 10, 2020 June 10, 2020 5:15 AM June 10, 2020 in News
Source: Associated Press
University of Louisiana Monroe

MONROE, La. (AP) — The University of Louisiana at Monroe has fired an instructor and is taking steps toward firing a professor for social media posts that it described earlier as “stunningly bigoted and racist.”

A brief statement Tuesday said both are on administrative leave. Their names and whether the leaves are paid or unpaid is not being released because they are personnel issues, university spokeswoman Hope Young said in an email.

The faculty handbook “defines expectations for faculty behavior in regards to citizenship and civility. The behavior we have witnessed this week does not reflect the values of this institution or civilized society,” the school’s statement said.

The News-Star reported that one posted a racist slur about former President Barack Obama and the other suggested complaints about police brutality are a false narrative used to “keep blacks on the democrat plantation.”

The instructor was sent a letter of termination and the university has begun the steps it must take to fire a tenured faculty member, the statement said.

The school also scheduled a livestreamed forum Tuesday evening and asked students, faculty, staff, and the public “to share ideas on how to accelerate diversity and inclusion at the university.”

On Sunday the university said on Facebook, “ULM condemns the stunningly bigoted and racist language in social media posts by select members of our faculty. Our university demands tolerance and respect in the workplace and in the classroom.”

The News-Star reported that biology instructor Dennis Bell wrote on Facebook that police brutality is a narrative used to “keep blacks on the democrat plantation,” The News-Star reported.

Bell has made other controversial social media posts, including one in 2015 that argued for his right to use a racist slur. He has since apologized on Facebook for other comments he made about kneeling during the national anthem.

Posts linked to the newspaper’s article were no longer online Tuesday.

The school started investigating a second faculty member after screenshots of a comment about an early April news article circulated over the past weekend, The News-Star reported.

The newspaper said Mary Holmes, an assistant professor of nursing at the university since 1991, was reacting to an article headlined “Detroit rep says hydroxychloroquine, Trump helped save her life amid COVID-19 fight.”

Holmes thanked President Donald Trump and referred to Obama with a racist slur, the newspaper reported.

Holmes and Bell did not respond to emails Monday from The Associated Press seeking comment.

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