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George Washington U. student government demands termination of two professors

The George Washington University Student Association is demanding the firing of a pair of professors — one who uttered the N-word in an educational context, and another who refused to allow a service dog in her class.

The former is Alicia Bitler, who uttered the N-word while discussing the painting “The Problem We All Live With” which depicts young Ruby Bridges integrating an all-white school in 1960.

The epithet is clearly visible on the painting. Bitler called the incident an “oops moment” and later held a discussion session on the matter. She eventually asked to be relieved of her teaching duties for the class.

The latter, Marie Matta, initially had refused to allow a student’s service pitbull to enter her class, but later relented and apologized upon realizing her error.

“The Student Association Executive Team condemns the behavior of Professors Bitler and Matta,” the SA posted on its Instagram page. “We strongly believe that any professor who violates the basic rights of students, as these professors have done, should be terminated.

“This is a view we hold based on morals as well as the university’s own policies. We are advocating for this action if the university does not move forward with the firing of these professors.”

MORE: Professor steps down after quoting N-word while discussing Rockwell painting

The Hatchet reports students and various members of the SA were critical of the initial SA Instagram post because it did not demand the professors’ termination.

From the story:

More than a dozen SA members said in their own comments to The Hatchet that the University needs to take disciplinary action against the professors to prevent future similar incidents and make GW a safe space for “vulnerable” groups on campus.

“The students of GW are tired of the endless excuses and band-aid solutions that so often follow these familiar incidents,” the letter reads. “Without a concrete solution, these acts are sure to happen again. We beseech your administration to take punitive measures against Dr. Bitler and Dr. Matta.” …

[SA Executive Secretary of Diversity Equity and Inclusion Ian] Ching said he wants the University to provide a “clear explanation” […] about Bitler and Matta’s actions in their classrooms and a “satisfactory” punishment to ensure these issues do not happen again.

SA Executive Secretary of Academic Affairs Abigail Francis said she wants the university to “reform” its diversity measures such as making (diversity) training mandatory across every academic department and for incoming freshmen.

MORE: GWU students demand firing of professor who wouldn’t let service pitbull into class

IMAGE: WAYHOME studio / Shutterstock.com

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About the Author
Associate Editor
Dave has been writing about education, politics, and entertainment for over 18 years, including a stint at the popular media bias site Newsbusters. He is a retired educator with over 25 years of service and is a member of the National Association of Scholars. Dave holds undergraduate and graduate degrees from the University of Delaware.