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UO law professor issues statement: 'My decision to wear black makeup was wrong'

"During a Halloween party I hosted at my house, I wore a costume inspired by a book I highly admire, Dr. Damon Tweedy’s memoir, 'Black Man in a White Coat,' " Nancy Shurtz, B.A. Kliks Professor at the University of Oregon School of Law, said Friday in a written statement issued via a local public relations agency. (SBG photo)

EUGENE, Ore. (KVAL) - The University of Oregon law professor under investigation for allegedly wearing blackface at an off-campus Halloween party issued a statement on Friday.

"During a Halloween party I hosted at my house, I wore a costume inspired by a book I highly admire, Dr. Damon Tweedy’s memoir, 'Black Man in a White Coat,' " Nancy Shurtz, B.A. Kliks Professor at the University of Oregon School of Law, said in a written statement issued via a local public relations agency.

Here is the rest of her in statement, in full:

I intended to provoke a thoughtful discussion on racism in our society, in our educational institutions and in our professions. As part of my costume, I applied black makeup to my face and wore a white coat and stethoscope.
In retrospect, my decision to wear black make up was wrong. It provoked a discussion of racism, but not as I intended. I am sorry for the resultant hurt and anger inspired by this event. It is cruelly ironic that this regrettable episode began with my admiration for a book that explores important aspects of race relations in our society, but ended up creating toxic feelings within our community. I intended to create a conversation about inequity, racism and our white blindness to them. Regrettably, I became an example of it. This has been a remarkable learning experience for me.
I hope that all who are hurt or angered by my costume will accept my apology. I meant no harm to them or others.
Out of respect for all involved, I will make no further comments to the media until the University’s investigation is completed.

The incident came to the public's knowledge this week when President Michael Schill and other university leaders wrote in a letter to the campus community that "the use of blackface, even in jest at a Halloween party, is patently offensive and reinforces historically racist stereotypes. it was a stupid act and is in no way defensible."

Some members of the faculty issued a letter this week callling on Shurtz to resign.

Law students met behind closed doors on Thursday to discuss the situation.


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