College Schools Instructor After Racist Song

By Jessica Greene
|  Tuesday, Apr 27, 2010  |  Updated 10:30 AM PDT
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School officials said on Monday that Louis Lebherz had been ordered to apologize to the class and complete diversity training after he had a student perform a song with a racial epithet during a voice class.

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A Saint Mary's College singing instructor should be singing the tune "I'm Sorry" after an incident at a recent class.

School officials said on Monday that Louis Lebherz had been ordered to apologize to the class and complete diversity training after he had a student perform a song with a racial epithet during a voice class.

Beth Dobkin, the college's provost, said his employment at the school had also been affected although she would not elaborate.

An African-American student complained after Lebherz had a student last month sing the original version of the show tune "Old Man River," which uses a racial epithet in reference to slaves and African-Americans.

Lebherz, whose brother, Philip, is a college trustee, apologized for his "insensitivity" in a letter to the student.

I sincerely wish to apologize to you for my insensitivity in having a student sing a song which called attention to the racial problems that were and are a serious problem for our nation, and also for our own institution.

The offensive language was removed from later versions of the song.

The incident comes as the college tries to improve race relations following criticism from accreditors.

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