Posted on April 1, 2022

Students Demand Professor Be Fired Over ‘Racist’ Comments in Viral TikTok

Khaleda Rahman, Newsweek, March 29, 2022

Students are calling for the firing of a college professor who was captured in a viral video making comments described as “offensive and racist” in Portland, Oregon.

The video, which was initially posted on TikTok, showed a man in the driver’s seat of a vehicle with the window rolled down. The clip begins while he is mid-sentence, saying “…hiring illegal immigrants” to a person off-camera.

He later asks the person if they were born in the U.S. When the person says they were, he asks: “Where?”


When they say Portland, he then asks whether the person’s “rude colleague” was born in the U.S.

The man then turns towards the passenger-side window, where another person appears to have taken offense to his questioning. He accuses that person of threatening him before the clip ends.


But it appears to have been brought to the attention of Reed College, a private liberal arts college in Portland, after it was shared on Twitter by user @thatdaneshguy, who identified the man in the video as Paul J. Currie, a psychology professor at the college.


In a statement posted on the college’s website, Reed’s president Audrey Bilger and Kathy Oleson, dean of the faculty and a professor of psychology, said the matter “has our full attention.”

Their statement did not name Currie, but acknowledged that the video “shows a Reed faculty member making offensive and racist comments at a local business.”


Currie reportedly apologized for his “reprehensible behavior” in an email to students, faculty and staff.

“First and foremost, I would like to sincerely apologize to all of you,” he said in the email, according to a screenshot shared on Twitter. “I know I have deeply offended you and for that I am truly sorry. There is no excuse to ever engage in offensive and discriminatory behavior and I accept full responsibility for my actions.”


But some students are calling for Currie to be fired.

The Reed chapter of the Young Democratic Socialists of America (YDSA) issued a statement saying Currie was “targeting service workers with racist and xenophobic abuse.”