White College Lecturer Tells Class She's 'Sick' of Talking About BLM

A SUNY Buffalo State College lecturer is facing an investigation after reportedly saying she is "sick" of talking about the Black Lives Matter movement during a lecture.

In the video, the lecturer, later identified as Erica Cope, says, "This is me...speaking honestly, and you guys have to respond honestly with what you think, with what you feel...about this."

She continues: "So, I am sick of talking about Black Lives Matter. Alright? I said it."

According to The Buffalo News, it was Jahnay Morehead, a student in the writing course, who recorded the video. The incident reportedly happened in the fall, but Morehead decided to release the clip earlier this week to coincide with a protest against racism on campus.

In the clip, Cope was reportedly giving an example of a controversial or unpopular opinion for which she might "get canceled."

However, Morehead believes—as do many of the clip's viewers—that Cope's comment was not a randomly chosen hypothetical, but a reflection of her true beliefs. Morehead added that the majority of the students in the class were Black, making the comment especially "insensitive."

"I feel like she said that with all her might," said Morehead. "It wasn't on accident. It wasn't just to see what the students were going to say."

Reporters at The Buffalo News trying to get in touch with Cope were instead directed to the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education, an organization that focuses on free-speech issues on college campuses, where an attorney spoke on the matter.

Adam Steinbaugh, a lawyer with the organization, said they were "concerned by the trajectory" of the incident. "The 15 seconds of an hour-long or so class is not enough to make a judgment call about not only her point but about whether or not this is protected speech," he said.

He argued that Cope was "speaking provocatively to try to get students to have a discussion about Black Lives Matter" and that "it's pretty clear that she's supportive" of the movement.

SUNY Buffalo State College's President, Kate Conway-Turner, however, has condemned the comments, describing them as "unacceptable."

"Let me be absolutely clear—Black Lives Matter at Buffalo State College," she said in a statement posted to her Twitter account. "The viewpoint expressed in a video clip circulating online by a part-time instructor clearly runs counter to all that we stand for at Buffalo State." She added that the school's Chief Diversity Officer will be further investigating the incident.

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— Kate Conway-Turner (@BuffStatePrez) April 20, 2021

As reported by WIVB, Buff State's Student Government President Jennie Mauk also released a statement, noting the importance of ensuring something like this doesn't happen again.

"We haven't received too much information yet on steps being taken internally to assure that this doesn't happen again...we're just looking to see what next steps are and then how we can advocate for that change to be made, and make sure education is based around those discussions and not dismissing experiences."

BLM Protest
BLM protestors in New York, September 2020. Spencer Platt/Getty Images