Emory University professor Paul Zwier. EMORY UNIVERSITY
Photo: The Atlanta Journal-Constitution
Photo: The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

Emory professor investigated for using racial epithet again

A white Emory University law school professor is being investigated for using a racial epithet after saying the same word in a classroom discussion three months ago, officials said.

“Professor Paul Zwier has been placed on administrative leave following reports that he recently repeated the same racial slur that he used in a classroom lecture earlier this semester,” Interim Emory Law School Dean James B. Hughes Jr. said in a statement sent by the university Tuesday afternoon. 

“Emory University’s commitment to the core values of diversity, inclusion and respect is longstanding and non-negotiable,” the statement continued. “We have been guided by these values in responding to both of these incidents. As we continue to gather the facts regarding these allegations, it is my pledge to continue to uphold the values that guide our university, and to update the Emory Law community as we work together to heal and grow.”

University officials declined to discuss details about the alleged incident, including when it took place. 

The Emory Wheel, the university’s student newspaper, reported Monday Zwier declined an interview request.

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution has reached out to Zwier for comment.

In August, Zwier was discussing a 1967 case about an African-American man who was told “a Negro could not be served” at an event. Zwier asked a student, while discussing more facts about the case, if the man was called the n-word, according to the university. The professor said he initially did not recall using the n-word but said in a letter to faculty that he used the word “rushing at the end of class and should have picked my words more carefully.”

Zwier apologized to his class and sent a letter to faculty explaining his actions.

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