Educators and nonprofit leaders took a class on empowerment at a UConn office in Haddam last week, but instead of leaving motivated, some said they were offended.
More than 20 people took part in the “People Empowering People” class, including Sabrina Tucker-Barrett, of Girls for Technology, who said comments she heard from Dr. Cathleen Love during the class were uncalled for.
Tucker-Barrett said she decided to take the class because of her work with her nonprofit organization, which encourages young women to pursue math and engineering careers.
She said during the class at UConn last Thursday, Love was reportedly discussing how to empower people when she uttered a comment that Tucker-Barrett said she can’t forget.
“The same way you can’t say ‘The Washington Redskins,’ you can’t say the ‘N’ word,” said Tucker-Barrett. “To use a word like that, it shocks me.”
She said she wasn’t the only person in the classroom who was offended.
“They wanted the class to end. Many people said they weren’t going to come back the next day,” Tucker-Barrett said, adding that this wasn’t the first time Love reportedly said the “N” word during one of her trainings.
“She was saying this wasn’t her first time actually using that word. And the reason why she uses that word is for shock value,” Tucker-Barrett said. “She has spent her entire life teaching diversity and multicultural issues. That’s what really astonished me, that she would say something like that.”
UConn issued a statement on Tuesday afternoon that said it “received a report Monday from a person who said a University employee used an offensive term during a program last week at a UConn Extension office. UConn officials have reached out to that person for more information and are reviewing the matter.”
Tucker-Barrett said she doesn’t want Love to lose her job, but said “I think she needs to go through some diversity training.”
She added that Love did apologize the next day after realizing the impact of what she said.
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