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Following a four-month investigation, a University of Kansas Professor who used a racial slur in class will be allowed to return to work this week.

Andrea Quenette, an assistant professor of communication studies at KU, used the "n-word" while teaching a graduate class on November 12 of last year. Eight communications graduate students subsequently filed complaints with the Office of Institutional Opportunity and Access, and Quenette was put on paid administrative leave. The incident sparked calls for her termination with the hashtag #FireAndreaQuenette and an open letter calling published by several KU students.

The incident occurred when a graduate student asked Quenette how to approach discussions about racial tension in the classroom. She responded that as a white woman she did not feel like she was in a position to relate to the challenges of others, then added “It’s not like I see [expletive] spray painted on walls.”

Though Quenette has been cleared of wrongdoing, KU recommended cultural competency training and a reevaluation of Quenette’s curriculum to include more diversity support.

“I believe they did due diligence in taking the students’ concerns seriously, and I do appreciate that,” Quenette said in an interview with the Lawrence World-Journal. “I didn’t believe I had violated policies ... so I’m glad that the outcome reflected that.”

Student reception of the decision was mixed. 

"It is possible to do and say racist things and not violate the law," Jyleesa Hampton said, one of the students who signed the open letter calling for Quenette’s termination. "That doesn’t make them any more acceptable.”

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