A Stanford Law School (SLS) professor is facing criticism from numerous student groups and instructors after saying the N-word in a class while quoting from historical source material.
Michael McConnell — a former judge for the United States Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit — used the word in his “Creation of the Constitution” class on Wednesday in a quote allegedly from Patrick Henry, who was arguing against the ratification of the Constitution at the Virginia Ratifying Convention.
The incident occurred just weeks after McConnell, who is white, was named a co-chair of Facebook’s Oversight Board, an independent oversight body with final say over complicated content moderation decisions — including decisions regarding hate speech and misinformation — on Facebook and Instagram. It also comes amid fallout after an assistant art history professor used the N-word during lecture in late April and in a class discussion post in early May.
Swift criticism and condemnation of McConnell’s actions ensued on Friday after the Black Law Students Association (BLSA) sent an open letter to the SLS community, blasting McConnell’s reasoning that history shouldn’t be “stripped of its ugliness.”