Oregon professor who wore blackface blasts school report

EUGENE, Ore. – The University of Oregon professor who wore blackface to a Halloween party, it is hard to criticize a research report of the university that they violated the institution’s anti-discrimination policy and causes damage to the law school, a newspaper reported Friday.

In a statement released through a public relations firm Thursday, Nancy Shurtz said that the investigation into her actions, that was released by the UO earlier this week was a form of “very public retaliation” and amounted to a public shaming, the Register-Guard reported (

Shurtz said in a statement that the university of a study by two Portland-based attorneys errors and omissions that they tried to correct it before it came out that her actions from the context. She said she is consulting with a lawyer.

The report was released Wednesday.

The university’s media relations office did not immediately respond on Friday to a phone looking for comment.

In an earlier apology, Shurtz said that they had dressed up as Dr. Damon Tweedy, a black psychiatrist, who wrote a memoir called “Black Man in a White Coast” about his experiences with racism while in the medical school. Her costume included with a black paint on her face and the hands, the wig and a white doctor’s coat accompanied by a stethoscope.

The costume was intended to provoke discussion about racism and social injustices, Shurtz said.

Shurtz did not respond to phone and e-mail messages seeking additional comment on Friday or Wednesday, the day on which the report was made public.

The university’s research found that Shurtz’ right to free speech — even though she was in her house — do not outweigh the university’s interest in maintaining a lawful and orderly atmosphere.

It is also revealed that some students felt compelled to attend the party because she is their professor — a claim Shurtz vehemently denied in her statement, citing its use of an “anonymous” grading system.

Researchers agreed that Shurtz did not intend to offend anyone, but said that the costume had caused serious damage to race relations and deepened fissures that already existed in the law school. The reaction, including debates about social media, has caused fear among the immigrant students at the school of law, the report found.

As a result, some are skipping classes or changing their study habits, and a few are considering transfers because of “mistrust in the direction of professors and teachers than only Shurtz,” the researchers said.

“The open discussions in the classroom have also led to a breed hostility between the students,” the researchers wrote.

Thirteen students, three teachers and two alumni were at the party at Shurtz the house, the researchers wrote, but no one approached her about her costume.


Information from: The Register-Guard,

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