Barnard College: Culture in America Class Canceled Following Complaints


Barnard College

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Case Overview

FIRE Victory closed

In October 2021, three Barnard College students filed a Title IX complaint against professor Jonathan Rieder for quoting the word “nigger” when discussing a scene in the movie 8 Mile in his Culture in America class. Although Barnard found Rieder’s expression did not meet the threshold for discriminatory harassment, the university refused to let Rieder teach Culture in America in the future because the class has “gotten a lot of negative attention.” On May 18, 2022, FIRE wrote Barnard urging it to allow Rieder to teach Culture in America because the college’s decision to cancel the class due to Rieder’s pedagogical choices violates its commitment to faculty academic freedom. Just weeks after FIRE publicized the situation, Barnard restored the class for the upcoming academic year.