The Trouble With Classics Continues

Historians in the News
tags: racism, education, conferences, classics

A video recording of a widely talked-about incident at the annual meeting of the Society for Classical Studies differs somewhat from firsthand accounts that prompted the organization to ban a member from the January gathering in San Diego.

But the classics society is standing by its initial response to Mary Frances Williams, an independent scholar who was accused of making a racist statement to Dan-el Padilla Peralta, an assistant professor of classics at Princeton University.

Numerous society members present at a January session on the future of classics reported at the time that Williams, an audience member, told Peralta, a panelist, that he got his faculty job because he is black. In response to these reports, Mary T. Boatwright, society president, announced that Williams was told she should no longer participate in the meeting. The society’s Board of Directors also released a statement decrying racist acts and speech, which was prompted in part by a separate incident of alleged racial profiling of scholars at the conference hotel.

Recently released video of the exchange between Williams and Peralta shows that Williams didn’t say Peralta got his job because he is black, however. Rather, she said, “You may have got your job because you’re black, but I would prefer to think you got your job because of merit.”

Read entire article at Inside Higher Ed

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