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Professor accused of racism for correcting grammar, capitalization

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  • Professor accused of racism for correcting grammar, capitalization

    According to the letter, one student capitalized the first letter of the word "Indigenous" in her research paper. The word was changed to a lower case "i" throughout the paper, helping to prompt accusations of racism.

    Rust, who is currently guest-lecturing in China, sent an email addressing the issue.

    “First, I have a practice of being rather thorough in the papers (dissertation proposals) the students were submitting to me and they said the grammar and spelling corrections I was making on their papers represented a form of ‘microaggression,’" he said. "I have attempted to be rather thorough on the papers and am particularly concerned that they do a good job with their bibliographies and citations, and these students apparently don't feel that is appropriate.”

    “Second," he added, "two weeks ago a Student of Color and a white female student got into a big discussion. She wants to use Standpoint Theory [a method of analysis coined by feminist sociologist Dorothy Smith, based on the idea that all knowledge is subjective and based on one's position in society] in her dissertation, and the Student of Color told her she had no business claiming that she was a member of an oppressed group. She came back saying there are all kinds of oppression. I likely did not handle the situation well, because I chose not to stop the discussion between them, so it went on for quite a while, and the Students of Color apparently interpreted my silence to mean I wasn't supporting them.”