It is widespread news that a Simpson college faculty member used the “N-word” in an academic setting; this choice has drawn considerable criticism of the faculty member and Simpson College.

(6) comments


Good for you for standing up for your friend. When I wrote decisions in racial discrimination cases as an administrative law judge, I would sometimes be confronted with evidence where the "N-word" was used in a discriminatory manner. Like all such decisions I have seen, I quoted the word directly and accurately and did not use euphemisms as accuracy is important in judicial decisions. It appears that Professor Bolen's use was justified, or at least understandable, as he was trying to illustrate the harm of discriminatory language and not endorsing it.

I hope that Simpson College is aware that the employment discrimination laws protect white males, as well as others, against racial and sexual discrimination. Based on comments made by faculty and others directed toward a white male student at a post Trump election "cry-in", with no rebuke by the college president, I fear that Professor Bolen may be discriminated against on the basis of the stereotype that he is a "privileged white male". The Simpson decision makers should ask themselves, "would we treat a Black female faculty member who made these remarks in the same manner as we are treating him?"

Here's to the day when people are judged, as Martin Luther King said, "by the content of their character and not the color of their skin."


We also echo Steve’s comments. We have known and worked with John for many years. His first consideration was always respect for the student. Lynette and Gene Anderson

Steve Rose

And you would know better than I, Lynette. And we both might add: not only was he a man of a character, he was also quite a character.

Michael R May

Well penned, Steve, well penned: "Very simply, John is a good man, and regardless of its effect, his goal in that exchange with students was to point out how nefarious such language can be, not to promote it."

Steve Rose

Thanks, Mike. I so wish I'd never had reason to write this letter. Bolen is as kind and generous of spirit as any human I know.


Well said, Steve. John would help any student in any way he can.

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