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Professor retires after racial remark

Feb. 19, 2011 at 6:10 PM

MURRAY, Ky., Feb. 19 (UPI) -- A Kentucky professor suspended for allegedly relating slavery to student tardiness has decided to retire March 1, school officials said.

Mark Wattier, a professor of political science at Murray State University, has filed a letter of resignation, Catherine Sivills, Murray State University's assistant vice president for communications, told the Murray Ledger & Times.

Wattier reportedly said he would apologize for remarks he allegedly made last fall in which he likened two black students' tardiness to slaves. But he appealed his suspension, saying he was deprived of due process, the Paducah Sun reported.

In a telephone interview with the Murray Ledger & Times, student Arlene "Monae" Johnson said she showed up on time for a class Aug. 25 and a film was already in progress. She said after class she and another student asked Wattier why the film started early.

"Well, it's OK, I expect it of you guys anyway," Johnson claimed Wattier told her. "We asked him, 'What did that mean?' And he said the slaves never showed up on time, so their owners often lashed them for it. He just didn't have the right."

She filed a complaint with the MSU Office of Equal Opportunity, resulting in Wattier's suspension.

The Ledger & Times said it was unable to get a comment from Wattier.

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