After professor cancels class, Eisgruber expresses respect for Rosen’s pedagogical decision to use “difficult words”

Rosen canceled his class after backlash and threats

Hours after anthropology professor Larry Rosen canceled his course on "Cultural Freedoms: Hate Speech, Blasphemy, and Pornography" in face of backlash for using the N-word, Princeton University President Christopher Eisgruber expressed his support for the scholar and his language.

"I respect Professor Rosen's decision about how to teach the subject in the way that he did by being explicit in using very difficult words, and they are very difficult words. And different people are going to make that judgment differently," said Princeton President Christopher Eisgruber '83 in response to a question from The Tab at the Council of Princeton University Council meeting.

Eisgruber: I support Rosen's pedagogical decision

After Prof. Rosen's use of N-word sparked backlash, president Eisgruber responds to inquiries about the incident and Rosen's decision to cancel the class at today's CPUC meeting.

Posted by The Tab Princeton on Monday, February 12, 2018

Last Tuesday, students walked out of Larry's lecture after he had asked ‘What is worse, a white man punching a black man, or a white man calling a black man a n****r?’.

Rosen announced that he is canceling his class today in an email to students. First reported by the University Press Club, Rosen "reluctantly decided to cancel this year’s offering of Anthropology 212."

According to Assistant Vice President for Communications Daniel Day, there was no administrative pressure for Rosen to cancel his class.

Several students informed The Tab that the viral story of Rosen's lecture had attracted the 78 year old professor threats and intimidating emails.

The Chair of Anthropology, among other faculty members and administrators, however, expressed vocal support for Rosen.

Inclusivity isn't about protecting people from offense, but to speak about and have difficult conversations, says Eisgruber.

As a first amendment constitutional scholar, Eisgruber noted that most scholars do not believe that they should self-censor difficult terms and words in controversial situations.

In response to whether he approves of student decisions to walk out of Rosen's lecture, Eisgruber added that he respected the students' right to do so and hopes people will stay engaged in difficult discussions.

Rosen will leave the readings and other course material on Blackboard for student reference. A discussion will be held for students in Rosen's class on the events that transpired.

Princeton University