A New Jersey professor allegedly called a student veteran a murderer and asked a black student if he knew the n-word.
Brookdale Community College sociology professor Howard Finkelstein made the remarks during class, according to two students who spoke with The Daily Caller News Foundation.
“Do you know what a n**ger is?” Finkelstein allegedly asked sophomore student Joey Smith.
“He said it about two or three times,” Smith told TheDCNF. “He was so comfortable saying it, and I’m the only African American in the class. It felt a little bit weird.”
“Two or three classes after that, he says it again, and then he said it another time,” the student recounted, saying Finkelstein changed the subject when Smith called him out on his use of the term.
The professor discusses white privilege in class and uses opinion articles as course material, instructing students to write essays on them, Smith said. One student veteran, whom Smith says almost died, stopped coming to class recently.
“[Finkelstein] called [the] veteran a murderer,” Smith’s classmate, Chris Lyle, told TheDCNF. “He also said he takes pride in killing innocent people for money.”
“We have 22 veterans a day who commit suicide,” Lyle said. “If anything, we should be helping these people out … not throwing them under the bus.”
The veteran expressed interest in commenting on an article for TheDCNF but wanted to wait until after a Wednesday meeting with administrators. Smith believes the student veteran is pursuing legal action.
The professor spends most of class denigrating Lyle’s conservative beliefs, Smith also asserted. The two clashed on the origin of privilege, with Lyle arguing it derived from class and Finkelstein insisting it came from being white. But Finkelstein’s remarks ranged outside of the racial and military realms.
“F*** your life,” the professor told Lyle, reportedly after the student said sexual harassment happens to both males and females.
Lyle reported Finkelstein’s alleged discrimination to college administrators — one of whom expressed concern Lyle was a gun-owner and wanted to know whether he needed a mental health evaluation.
Brookdale student conduct and compliance manager Christopher Jeune allegedly told Lyle he “can’t sleep at night knowing [I] own guns with this video circulating around the Internet,” the student said to TheDCNF.
“They are more concerned about my gun ownership that I obtained legally than this professor’s conduct,” Lyle said.
Finkelstein did not respond to TheDCNF’s request for comment. Brookdale cannot not comment on the incidents until it completes its investigation of the situation, the school told TheDCF.
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