Paul J. Zwier II/Courtesy of Emory Photo

Emory Law Professor Paul J. Zwier II, who was briefly suspended from teaching for saying the N-word in class in August, has been placed on administrative leave after the University received multiple reports that he recently repeated the same racial slur, according to School of Law Interim Dean James B. Hughes Jr.

Hughes announced Zwier’s leave on Monday following a Friday statement that he was investigating allegations against the tenured professor.

Zwier allegedly used the racial slur for the second time on Oct. 31 during office hours with a student, according to a petition by Emory’s Black Law Students Association (BLSA) and Student Bar Association (SBA). The petition, started Nov. 12, requests that the University remove Zwier; require mandatory cultural competency, unconscious bias, and sensitivity trainings for all faculty and staff that work with students; and create a committee of faculty, staff, and students to initiate dialogue on sensitive issues.

BLSA President Wrenica Archibald (16C, 19L) and SBA President Nicole ElMurr (19L), who led a meeting on Friday to gather feedback from students about the situation, did not respond to the Wheel’s request for an interview.

The dean said the University is continuing to “gather the facts” regarding the new allegations in Monday’s statement to the Wheel via Associate Vice President of University Communications Nancy Seideman.

“Emory University’s commitment to the core values of diversity, inclusion and respect is longstanding and non-negotiable,” Hughes wrote on Monday. “We have been guided by these values in responding to both of these incidents.”

Hughes declined the Wheel’s request for an interview on Tuesday and did not respond to an email asking about the timeline and the scope of the investigation.

Zwier declined the Wheel’s request for an interview.

“I have been advised by counsel not to submit to any interviews during the pendency of the investigation,” Zwier wrote in a Monday email to the Wheel.

Seideman said Zwier’s leave is paid in accordance with University Policy 4.72, which specifies that employees are placed on paid administrative leave for up to 30 calendar days during investigations into discrimination complaints.

In the first controversy, Zwier said the racial slur during an August introductory tort law class for first-year law students when he referenced Fisher v. Carrousel Motor Hotel, Inc. After a three-week investigation, the University barred Zwier from teaching mandatory first-year courses for two years and required him to participate in sensitivity and unconscious bias training. Zwier later apologized to Emory Law students and faculty for using the racial slur.

As of Nov. 4, Zwier is scheduled to teach Spring 2019 classes “Advanced Evidence,” “Alternative Dispute Resolution” and “Advanced International Negotiations” — all upper level law classes, according to the Emory Law website.

Carson Greene contributed reporting.

Update (11/14/18 at 1:40 a.m.): This article has been updated to include BLSA and SBA’s petition. 

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Executive Editor |
Christina Yan (21B) is from Monmouth Junction, N.J., majoring in business administration. She previously served as assistant news editor and news editor. She won a 2018 Mark of Excellence Award from the Society of Professional Journalists in the General News Reporting category for her coverage of Emory Law Professor Paul J. Zwier II’s use of the N-word in class and also placed as a finalist in the same category for her investigation of the 2018 Student Government Association elections. Outside the Wheel, she is an academic fellow, QTM100 lab assistant and a member of Emory China Care's marketing team. In her spare time, she enjoys flexing on others with her ability to eat spicy food.