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Prof Strips, Shows 9/11 Footage, Impales Stuffed Animal (VIDEO)

A science professor at Columbia University on Monday began a quantum mechanics lecture by stripping into his boxers and eating a banana while rap music played in the background.

Then it got weird.

The professor, Emlyn Hughes, proceeded to redress himself in black, complete with sunglasses, and hug himself on stage at the front of the classroom, a large theater.

As Hughes sat in the fetal position, two “actors” dressed in ninja costumes walked onstage and placed white stuffed animals – lambs – on stools before the audience, according to a student-recorded video of the incident posted on Vimeo.com by “Bwog,” a campus news website run by Columbia students.

The ninjas blindfolded the lambs, then a ninja impaled one of the stuffed animals with a long sword and banged it against the stool – right as an image of a plane hitting one of the Twin Towers on 9/11 started rolling on a large screen behind the performance.

Students in the video could initially be heard laughing and giggling and questioning the performance when it started, even squealing in shock with Hughes had first undressed.

“I am so confused,” one female student said on the video. “What is happening.”

After the lamb’s grisly “death” and the images of 9/11, the footage turned into a montage that included clips of Osama bin Laden, Saddam Hussein and Hitler – as well as numerous shots of war images – tanks rolling, bombs exploding, people hanging upside-down, troops marching, and the like.

As the footage continued, a rap song called “Drop It Like It’s Hot” played in the background.

Students’ reaction turned from laughter and amused surprised to concern, according to comments heard on the video.

“What the f**k is happening,” one female student asked. “Is this real life? … How does this relate to anything?”

Eventually, the film ended and the professor began his lecture. But when he first grabbed his microphone, at least one student mistook it for a gun, saying with concern: “He has a gun, he has a gun.”

The bizarre episode lasted less than ten minutes. The Vimeo clip included the very first part of Hughes’ lecture, in which he told students that “in order to learn quantum mechanics, you have to strip to your raw, erase all the garbage from your brain and start over again. … Everything you do in your everyday life is totally opposite of what you are going to learn in quantum mechanics.”

The Columbia Daily Spectator, the student campus newspaper that reported the news Monday of the professor’s performance, quoted several students who said they were troubled and confused by what unfolded.

Student Maura Barry-Garland told The Spectator that “the incident was all the more disconcerting because Hughes did not provide an explanation for using those images.

“It was very disturbing, and I don’t think anyone in the audience got what he was doing. He didn’t explain it or provide a context, and that’s why it was offensive to me and to other people,” she told the student newspaper.

The Spectator also reported Hughes’ performance Monday was not his first “stunt,” noting in a 2011 lecture “he showed students nude photos of Woodstock attendees.”

According to his bio page on the university’s website, Hughes stated that “via my background in nuclear physics activities, I have a deep interest in issues relevant to nuclear proliferation.”

WARNING: Video contains some profanity. (NSFW)

FroSci Gone Wild from Bwog on Vimeo.

Click here to read the Columbia Daily Spectator article on the incident.

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IMAGE: Bwog/Vimeo.com

About the Author
Fix Editor
Jennifer Kabbany is editor of The College Fix. She previously worked as a daily newspaper reporter and columnist for a decade in Southern California, and prior to that held editorial positions at The Weekly Standard, Washington Times and FrontPageMagazine. She is also a Robert Novak Journalism Fellowship recipient and has contributed to National Review.

Add to the Discussion

  • Renatius Barton

    I’m betting he won’t be fired. He’s . . . you know . . . kinda cutting edge and stuff.

  • pocketmouse

    Ummmm, what can be said… Liberalism unbound? And just as a reminder, MOM – DAD, you are paying for this (education???)

  • MarkD

    The media and the left want society and the powers that be to magically identify nut jobs whose commit mass murder before they do it, but they can’t. So instead they will attack honest, sane and law abiding citizens because legislation does not work on the insane, but it makes them feel like they are doing “something” so they feel better.
    Here we have a professor at an Ivy league University putting on a display that certainly calls into question his mental balance who is teaching young adults. Is this a cry for help? Perhaps he should be put under observation. If in the future if this guy commits a mass murder this video will be shown and people will question why nobody found this behavior alarming.

  • yestradamous

    The student was “offended” because she was not given a context and couldn’t figure out what was happening. Is this what we’ve come to?
    She was given context. The professor said she’d have to change the way she thinks about the “context” of reality in order to understand quantum mechanics. (In other words, prepare to have your mind blown.). I think he tried to do just that with this display, LOL.
    She’s supposed to think about how this challenges her expectations of what a science lecture should be, etc. Its a metaphor.
    I don’t think she can think that hard just yet. Maybe by the end of the semester if she can refrain from getting her feathers ruffled every time she isn’t spoon fed knowledge.

    • Renatius Barton

      I think you are hardly thinking.

    • jaybird1951

      I think that concept can be expressed verbally while remaining dressed.

  • Maura Barry-Garland

    Lovely, I’m going to have to do this on every article that copied the quote used in the Spectator article instead of doing independent research or contacting anyone involved.

    Anyway, I’m quoted above as saying, “He didn’t explain it or provide a context, and that’s why it was offensive to me and to other people.”

    What I meant by that comment was that, though the images themselves weren’t inappropriate, they were not appropriate in the context in which he presented them. When I was in elementary school and 9/11 occurred, my class was shown footage of the attacks. I believe that viewing those images helped us to understand the gravity of the situation, and I don’t think powerful images should be repressed. However, Hughes was not using the images to help us empathize with victims of terrorist attacks. He was using them to make an awkward metaphor about quantum mechanics, to wake up the class, and to get himself more attention. I didn’t feel that was an appropriate use of the footage, especially since many of the hundreds of students in the auditorium were personally affected by the 9/11 attacks.

    It should also be noted that this is a core class, so none of the students present chose to enroll in this class and none of us are able to drop it.

    It would be amazing if you could remove your “quotes” from me. Spectator paraphrased the statement I told the reporter originally and none of the writers who have subsequently copy-pasted my comments have bothered to contact me about it.

    –Maura Barry-Garland

    • yestradamous

      Appreciate the clarification.
      Not the first or last time a reporter used a quote “out of context” as it were.

  • Curtis

    This is a Satanic ritual.

    • Must be nice being able to label anything you don’t like or understand a liberal, a terrorist, or Satan

  • gavinwca

    This is what’s teaching our young Adults , civility and morales, Columbia has always been a Comminist school, now it is perverted perverted school, they should be proud of themselves.. Alumna are you still going to give your money for this deviant and perverted teaching of your Children.

    • Pretty obvious you’ve never been to college…or even middle school perhaps

  • conservative

    Another nut job who should not have guns.

  • Remember haters, republicans want you to be stupid, uneducated, and indoctrinated. This is a tendency of all fascists. Keep your stupid tails in church, learning how to hate and fear, demonize anyone with an education, especially colleg professors. Call them liberals, whatever you have to in order to keep the population under idiot control. Good luck to you, enjoy your Walmart jobs and welfare checks

    • Renatius Barton

      What a hateful post.

    • Jim

      Wait, I thought Republicans were those rich, highly educated, privileged haters who made their money on the backs of people with Walmart Jobs. Can’t have it both ways moron. Typical libtard comment. You are so much more enlightened than us simpletons who actually work for a living and contribute to society. Since you clearly understand this nut job professor maybe you can share what his message was in doing this. Please enlighten us “uneducated haters”

  • Deborah21

    Plain and simple, he’s a nut.

  • lessthantolerant

    liberal education requires our children be entertained not challenged hence we have idiots like this.