Some of you will remember my experience with Racist Rebecca from last week (and yet it feels so long ago, so if you don't remember, I understand). As a followup, because a follow up is always warranted after an incident like this in class, Racist Rebecca met with me, my chair, and a student representative of her choice (she chose to bring her boyfriend) in my chair's office this week.
My chair outlined briefly for Racist Rebecca why we were meeting: because Racist Rebecca was offended that I had said, "I'm sorry to hear you're a racist. I thought better of you," when she expressed incredulity that America had re-elected a "the missing link/a monkey" the day after Election Day.
Racist Rebecca did not deny that this had happened and claimed that, as a student in the United States of America, "I have First Amendment Rights, and if I say how I feel, that's protected." My chair outlined for her that hate speech was not protected under any laws, and that she had violated not only the right to speak, but that of every person on campus who must abide by the code of student conduct to respect all persons on the basis of race, ethnicity, gender, disability, religion, sexual orientation, and other characteristics.
My chair also outlined that it was within my rights to call her out in public since she had made the statement in public. Racist Rebecca started to bristle.
"But I'm not a racist," Racist Rebecca then piped up. "It's not my fault Obama looks like the missing link. Besides, people claim he's only half black and so it's not really racist if no one even knows what race he is."
At this point, my chair interrupted her to say: "Your comments and conduct are unacceptable. I am personally starting disciplinary proceedings against you." She explained why what Racist Rebecca had said was unacceptable, all the while watching as Racist Rebecca vehemently shook her head in denial.
Observing that his girlfriend was distressed, Racist Rebecca's boyfriend jumped in to try to defend her by following her argument that if one's race is ambiguous, one's racist comments are not truly racist. At that point, my chair warned him that he, too, would be guilty of unbecoming conduct if he continued. He was smart enough to shut up. Racist Rebecca, however, was not. She attempted to claim that we had "set her up" by calling this meeting (forgetting that SHE was the one who had requested the meeting) and hadn't allowed adequate time to defend herself.
My chair then outlined that it would be at my discretion to allow her to remain in the class (oh-fucking-great) and adjourned the meeting. This will continue after Thanksgiving with a more formal disciplinary hearing. Racist Rebecca did not show up to class all week.
The clincher: on their way out, Racist Rebecca's boyfriend said to her: "Is your professor black? Doesn't look black," and Racist Rebecca said, "I don't know. They all look alike to me."
--An update with more info is in the comments below.