Days later, Zwier was describing to a student the insults he endured when he was young and working with African-Americans on civil rights causes, Zwier’s lawyer, Lee Parks, said. At one point, Zwier said whites had called him a “n-word lover.”
Complaints were filed over Zwier's use of the racial epithet, leading to a request last June from an interim dean that the professor be removed.
“What happened to Paul struck at the very core of tenure,” Parks said. “His victory vindicates the principles of academic freedom which make America’s universities the best in the world.”
In a letter to the Emory law community, Bobinski said the use of the n-word “carries with it the potential for harm, including the disruption or destruction of an inclusive learning environment for students, whatever the motivation of the speaker.”
Even so, she said, Emory has not adopted a ban on the use of any particular words. But a faculty member’s use of racially charged, derogatory language like the n-word, without a clear objective of teaching, could lead to censure or other discipline, Bobinski said.