Described by The Atlantic as the ‘most liberal college in America’ few years ago and by P. Review as “one of the most distinctive colleges in the nation,” the Reed College recently gathered a lot of attention nationwide after a Reed College professor was seen in a viral video making offensive and racist comments at a local business drive-thru while in his vehicle and allegedly drunk. Few days after the video was posted on TikTok, the college made their first public announcement informing everyone they are aware of the incident supporting the victims in the video.
Since initially appearing online, the viral video was seen more than 415,000 times only on TikTok, adding nearly 40k likes and more than 3,000 comments as of writing of this article. The short clip shows a man in his vehicle, with his window down, arguing with at least two people who are standing outside the car. It’s unclear when or where the video was taken, but a McDonald’s sign can be seen in the background, indicating that the exchange might have happened at a drive-thru window.
It was not immediately clear who the man in the video was, but once it gathered the online community’s attention, many people recognized and identified the man as a Reed College psychology professor, something that was confirmed few days later by the Reed College President Audrey Bilger in his online statement on the college’s website.
On March 25, Twitter user identified the professor in the video as Paul J. Currie, Psychology Professor at Reed College in Oregon. The same Twitter user said the professor looks drunk in the video which becomes evident taking into consideration the difficulties he experiences while trying to speak clearly and the movements while in the vehicle.
From what is seen in the 30-seconds video, the video starts mid-sentence while the man is talking something about “illegal immigrants.” The next thing the man asked the person behind the cell phone is “Are you born in the United States?” on which the unidentified person answers “yes.” For some reason, the professor repeated the same question and presses on, asking if “your rude colleague was born in the United States.”
The incident forced the Dean of the Faculty and the college director to send the following letter to students and parents of students:
Dear Reed students, faculty, and staff,
A number of you have contacted the college with concerns about a video circulating on social media that shows a Reed faculty member making offensive and racist comments at a local business. We express our support for the employees insulted in the video.
This matter has our full attention, both to ascertain the accuracy of the video, to engage a valued member of our community in conversation about what it appears to show, and to follow our guidelines for addressing discriminatory speech. These guidelines include the faculty code of conduct, our Title IX, and our Discriminatory Harassment and Sexual Misconduct policies. The college has developed practices and policies in order to support a diverse and inclusive community. We engage in this work collectively, and we hold the expectation that members of our community engage in this work in their daily lives.
As Newsweek reported by the end of last month, several students asked the faculty to fire the professor for his racial and offending comments. At this point, the incident is still under investigation and no updates were available.