University should have defended professor in debate over offensive language: Legault

Quebec Premier François Legault says the University of Ottawa should have defended a professor who used a derogatory word for Black people in class.

A student complained that part-time professor Verushka Lieutenant-Duval used the notorious word late last month in class to explain how some communities had reclaimed terms over time.

The incident has sparked vocal disagreement between some students and faculty in a case that pits academic freedom and open dialogue against the rights and sensitivities of those in the classroom.

Lieutenant-Duval apologized upon receiving the complaint and invited her students at the university, attended by many francophones, to discuss the issue in their next class.

Legault says the professor wanted to raise an important subject, not insult anybody.

He says in places of higher learning it is important that all subjects be open for debate.

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