U. of North Texas Lawyer Resigns After Using Racial Slur During Free Speech Lecture

Free Speech College
AFP PHOTO/Josh Edelson

A staff lawyer at the University of North Texas has resigned after using a racial slur during a classroom discussion about free speech.

According to a local news report, a University of North Texas staff lawyer has resigned over her use of a racial slur during an on-campus panel event on free speech.

Assistant General Counsel Caitlin Sewell allegedly used a racial slur during a panel discussion on free speech that took place on Thursday night. Sewell resigned on Friday morning.

Sewell used a racial slur to illustrate the point that the First Amendment protects offensive speech. “Gonna say a lot of offensive things in here, because it’s impossible to talk about the First Amendment without saying horrible things,” Sewell said during the speech. “Um, you know, you’re just a dumb n**** and I hate you. That alone, that’s protected speech.”

One posted shared a video on Twitter of the audience’s reaction to Sewell’s comments. A small group of students jumped on the stage and took the microphone from Sewell and encouraged attendees to send her an audio clip of Sewell’s remarks. Students shouted at Sewell and demanded that she leave the stage.

In a statement, University of North Texas President Neal Smatresk acknowledged that Sewell was trying to make a point about the broad protections of the First Amendment. However, he went on to suggest that the use of the slur is contradictory to the campus’ values.

“We strongly believe in a culture that embraces, and vehemently defends inclusion. While Ms. Sewell was trying to make a point about First Amendment speech, the references used are never condoned in our community, which prides itself in our diversity and caring nature,” Smatresk said in a statement.

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