Professor Reprimanded for “Creating a Hostile Learning Environment” for Whites

ShannonGibneyShannon Gibney, a professor of English and African diaspora studies at Minneapolis Community and Technical College received a letter of reprimand from the college’s administration for creating “a hostile learning environment” for White students in one of her classes. Three White male students in her class on mass communication claimed that Professor Gibney concentrated too much on the issue of structural racism in American society and that this made them uncomfortable.

A letter received by Professor Gibney from the college’s vice president for academic affairs, read in part, “It was inappropriate for you to single out White male students in class. Your actions caused them embarrassment and created a hostile learning environment. For that reason, I have determined that a reprimand is warranted.”

Here is video of an interview Professor Gibney gave to the college’s student newspaper, City College News, about the incident.

Related Articles


  1. After listening to the reprimanded professor, I am not particularly persuaded hers is a course in which students feeled encouraged to “communicate honestly.” Eric Holder accused Americans of being cowards when it comes to discussing race. If we really seek to have a discussion we should consider whether we are reinforcing an atmosphere on college campuses where some people are afraid to speak. It’s ironic Professor Gibney talks about the environment for students of color. Maybe she should consider the environment she creates for her white students. Some of her students obviously thought she did not. She could have used their questions as teaching opportunities rather than claim she now feels threatened and her authority undermined.

    • The white students interrupted her lecture repeatedly, suggesting an unwillingness to listen. They didn’t want to hear it. Their conduct was disrespectful, uncivil, intellectually lazy, and quite possibly sexist and racist. Sadly, they were rewarded for it. First, the professor’s lecture was essentially shut down. Second, she was later punished for simply doing her job. Third, white students now have a behavior template to follow when they don’t want to discuss race in class. Fourth, this has certainly had a chilling effect on the professors. The consumer university learning model plays out along racial lines yet again.

      • Just experienced similar actions from being the only black male professor on a 65% white campus in the deep south. Had more negative comments than I care for; not about the quality of my instruction, but about the standards I had like late work, you lose points; white students reported I threaten them (code word for hostile Negro). I produced results, when above and beyond my job; pulled off a lot of quality learning opportunities for my class which made a lot of colleagues uncomfortable. Sad that the more things change the more they same; no wonder we are losing the global achievement race; we are too busy holding back change with black and white wedge issues.

      • a behavior template? Seriously? yea, like if someone accuses you of being a racist with no justification, the “behavior template” is to call BS….as it should be.

Leave a Reply

Get the JBHE Weekly Bulletin

Receive our weekly email newsletter delivered to your inbox

Latest News

Recent Books of Interest to African American Scholars

The Journal of Blacks in Higher Education regularly publishes a list of new books that may be of interest to our readers. The books included are on a wide variety of subjects and present many different points of view.

North Carolina A&T State University Mounts Effort to Educate Heirs Property Owners

Heirs property is land passed down through a family, often over multiple generations and to numerous descendants, without the use of wills or probate courts. In North Carolina, the value of land owned as heirs property is estimated at nearly $1.9 billion. Heirs property is disproportionately held by Black landowners.

Higher Education Grants or Gifts of Interest to African Americans

Here is this week’s news of grants or gifts to historically Black colleges and universities or for programs of particular interest to African Americans in higher education.

New Legislation Aims to Boost Entrepreneurial Efforts of HBCU Students

Congresswoman Nikema Williams (GA-05) has introduced the Minority Entrepreneurship Grant Program Act, bipartisan legislation that creates a grant program with the Small Business Administration for entrepreneurs at minority-serving institutions like historically Black colleges and universities.

Featured Jobs