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St. Mary's Prof Faces Uncertain Future After Having Student Sing 'Old Man River'

St. Mary's Prof Faces Uncertain Future After Having Student Sing 'Old Man River'

Commented May 7, 2010 at 04:10:09 in College

“I am currently a student at SMC and I know both E.J. and Professor Lebherz. The situation is so much more complicated then it is being portrayed in the news (I've read every article and watched the interviews). Most importantly, the song is not the focus. Personally I think the Lebherz missed an opportunity to create dialogue by providing the context, but still, the song isn't the issue; it's just what the news has talked most about.
E.J. from what i understand, was uncomfortable, voiced that and was told to "calm down." Yes students who were present disagree about what was actually said, but I believe that Lebherz has admitted saying things that E.J. claimed.
In my opinion, knowing both people involved, this was a BIG misunderstanding (for lack of a better word) in which a professor was unsensative to the effect his words might have on a minority student. I can see a professor thinking that he and the student are buddies and somehow the student will laugh about being called a gangster (still ridiculous). Never have I gotten the sense that Professor Lebherz is racist. He is new to the SMC community, this is his first year teaching here--possibly ever, in a classroom setting. So yes, sensitivity training would be beneficial. Firing the prof wouldn't solve anything, in my opinion. It would only satisfy a "need for blood."”