University Professor Fired After Bitter Battle With Student Over "Racist" Exam Question

A professor in Tennessee was fired in the middle of the spring term after declaring war on a student who accused her of racism. The white teacher, a long-time advocate for human rights, was furious when the black student challenged her question.

The student began spreading the news that the teacher is racist, and the teacher vented her frustrations on Facebook.

It all started when Judy Morelock, a sociology lecturer at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, received an email from her student, Kayla Parker. Things quickly went downhill from there, resulting in the professor's termination.

The question read, "Historical research on African-American families during slavery shows that: A) family ties weren't important in the African cultures where the slaves ancestors originated; consequently, family bonds were never strong among slaves; B) two-parent families were extremely rare during the slave period; C) black family bonds were destroyed by the abuses of slave owners, who regularly sold off family members to other slave owners; D) most slave families were headed by two parents."

Parker, an African-American student, asked the professor, "On my quiz, you marked that C is false and D is true. I'm unsure how C would qualify as an incorrect answer when black slave families were destroyed by the separation and selling of family and was even discussed in our textbooks. While an argument could even be made for B, that two parent families were rare during slavery because these abuses led to separation and/or murder of parents, I wanted to know if you had a counter argument as to what makes C incorrect?"

That did it. Morelock was reportedly angered by the question and scheduled a short meeting with her student after class. But Parker reports that all through class that day, she could see trouble was brewing.

"When class was in session, she began making backhanded comments directed at me," Parker said. "After class, my Professor and I went into the hallway for our scheduled meeting. Before letting me speak, she spent 3 minutes flipping through various books and citing sociologists who didn't explicitly mention the destruction of family bonds."

It's unclear what, if anything, Parker might have said to anyone about Morelock after that incident. But the furious teacher began ranting on Facebook about her frustrations with her student.

"She's on LinkedIn trying to establish professional contacts. This will be fun!" Parker wrote on Facebook, along with emojis of a fist and set of scales.

"Once you spread venomous rumors and try to destroy a person's reputation, you cannot undo the damage. You also will not be forgotten or forgiven. #karmawillfindyou," Morelock said in another post.

She didn't use Parker's name, but threatened to do so after the semester was over.

"Posting her name would be a violation of her right to privacy," Morelock explained in a Facebook post. "Apparently I have no such right. She has the right of free speech to criticize and eviscerate me in any way she wishes. After she is no longer my student, the university rules no longer apply, and I have a long memory and don't forgive malevolent attempts to harm me."

The University of Tennessee terminated her employment. Morelock is furious. She told the Daily Mail: "I am a lifetime activist and proponent of racial justice, so being called a racist is the worse slur that anyone could possibly make against me... Look carefully at the articles you have read, and you will notice that not one shred of evidence or one example of racism has even been provided."

"I taught for 17 years at a historically black institution, Knoxville College, and hundreds of my former students, all of whom are African American, are Facebook friends who have been at the forefront of people defending me on social media. They are outraged that I have been referenced as a racist," Morelock said.

Parker is pleased with the outcome of the situation. "Fortunately, this story has the unusual ending of a University standing up for a student. I was removed from the class, given alternatives for completing the course, and offered additional resources to ensure my safety."

Parker added, "When white people refuse to use their privilege and voice to fight against a society that disproportionately victimizes people of color, they are in fact contributing to a racist and unjust society."

Source: Daily Mail
Photos: Judy Morelock/Facebook, LinkedIn, Kayla Parker/Facebook, Kayla Parker via Knox News, Nightryder84/Wikimedia

Morelock's response got her in trouble.

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