Both Ivy League Colleges Apologize for ‘Serious Error’ in Using Bones of Black Child for TeachingBreaking News
tags: racism, MOVE
The two Ivy League universities at the center of a billowing storm over the use in anthropology teaching of the bones of an African American child killed by Philadelphia police in 1985 have apologized for the “serious error”, promising to return the human remains to relatives who never consented to the practice.
The pelvis and femur bones of an unidentified Black girl thought to be in her teens were revealed last week to have been used as props in an online anthropology course staged by Princeton and given by a professor from the University of Pennsylvania. Neither institution had requested or received consent from the family of the child, yet held on to the bones for research and teaching for 36 years.
Now both universities have issued apologies, announced investigations by outside lawyers, and pledged to do better in future in their interactions with African American communities.
Princeton’s president, Christopher Eisgruber, said its “commitment to teaching and scholarship in the service of humanity depends on treating everyone we encounter with dignity and respect”. He added that he was “deeply troubled” to learn that the remains of the unidentified child had been used in an online course presented by his institution.
The now suspended course, Real Bones: Adventures in Forensic Anthropology, deployed as a “case study” the bones of the girl who is believed to have been 12 or 14 when she was killed in a fire in West Philadelphia in May 1985. The inferno was started when Philadelphia police dropped an incendiary bomb on the roof of the headquarters of a Black liberation and back-to-nature group, Move.
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