OU investigates after professor uses racial slur in class

NORMAN, Okla. (AP) — The University of Oklahoma says it is looking into an incident in which a journalism professor used a racial slur during a class on Tuesday.

Peter Gade, director of graduate studies at OU’s Gaylord College of Journalism and Mass Communication, used the slur while arguing that it was equally offensive as the term “Boomer,” according to a statement from Interim President Joseph Harroz Jr.

“While the professor’s comments are protected by the First Amendment and academic freedom, his comment and word choice are fundamentally offensive and wrong,” Harroz said. “The use of the most offensive word, by a person in a position of authority, hurt and minimized those in the classroom and beyond.”

The remark came during a classroom discussion in which Gade said a student's comment about journalists connecting to younger generations was akin to using the phrase, “OK, boomer," according to an account in the student newspaper, the OU Daily.

Gade, the Gaylord Family Endowed Chair at OU, has been on the faculty since 1998.

He did not immediately respond to messages seeking comment.

The university has grappled with a number of racially charged incidents in recent years. Last year, two students were involved in a video in which one women wore blackface and used a racial slur.

The university also severed ties with a fraternity in 2015 after several members took part in a chant caught on video that used racial slurs and referenced lynching.