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Penn prof who used Nazi salute to protest perceived lack of free speech resigns

The University of Pennsylvania professor who earlier this month protested being cut off in a virtual discussion by using a Nazi salute has resigned his position.

Robert Schuyler, who taught anthropology, was upset that PhD candidate Liz Quinlan interrupted him in the middle of a sentence. When Quinlan tried to explain why she had interjected, Schuyler threw up his arm in a Nazi salute and said “Sieg Heil.”

“Excuse me, I have freedom of speech, and you’re not going to tell this is not the place to bring this up!” Schuyler exclaimed.

Quinlan ended up filing complaints with the Society for Historical Archaeology and Register of Professional Archaeologists. Penn students started a petition calling for Schuyler’s firing.

Schuyler’s only reaction was saying he “believe[d] he owe[d] Quinlan an apology.” But Penn Anthropology Department Chair Kathleen Morrison had noted “We’re not going to just let this go.”

According to a statement by Arts and Sciences Dean Steven Fluharty, Schuyler “retired” last Monday.

On behalf of Penn’s School of Arts and Sciences, I strongly condemn this abhorrent conduct. Such behavior has no place in our academic discourse, which aims to celebrate the open exchange of ideas in an environment that promotes civility, respect, and inclusion. Nazi symbols are antithetical to our values as an institution. The fact that this behavior comes during a period of deep social division in our nation, when too many others are invoking such symbols in their expressions of hate, makes this incident even more painful for our community. …

As has been reported, the School has canceled the professor’s scheduled courses for the spring semester. As of January 25, 2021, Professor Schuyler has retired from our faculty.

The Hill reports Schuyler’s resignation includes his position at Penn Museum where he was associate curator-in-charge.

Quinlan noted on Twitter she was “surprised” Schuyler’s departure took as long as it did.

Quinlan indicated she was “pleased” at news of the resignation “mostly because it means any hostile environment [Schuyler] had created for current and future students and colleagues is now disrupted.”

She also criticized the tenure system, claiming it made retirement “the only positive scenario here,” that it “protects bad actors” and “softens the blow of accountability.” It also “upholds white supremacy.”

Read The Hill article.

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About the Author
Associate Editor
Dave has been writing about education, politics, and entertainment for over 20 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.