Uju Anya

SCIENCE & TECH: Thousands defend professor who wished Queen Elizabeth II an ‘excruciating’ death

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Thousands of academics and students signed a petition defending a Carnegie Mellon University professor who wished Queen Elizabeth an “excruciating” death hours before she passed away last week.

Prof. Uju Anya, a Nigerian-American language professor, tweeted Thursday that “the chief monarch of a thieving raping genocidal empire is finally dying.” 

“May her pain be excruciating,” Anya added, drawing a backlash from critics including Amazon founder Jeff Bezos. 

The petition defending Anya, which had been signed nearly 4,000 times as of Monday afternoon, defends her by saying that Queen Elizabeth II was “literally her colonizer.”

CMU has sought to distance itself from Anya, releasing a statement Thursday calling her tweets “offensive and objectionable.”

“The chief monarch of a thieving raping genocidal empire is finally dying,” Prof. Uju Anya said.

“Free expression is core to the mission of higher education, however, the views she shared absolutely do not represent the values of the institution, nor the standards of discourse we seek to foster,” the Pittsburgh university said. 

The Pittsburgh college has not said whether it will sever ties with Anya.

The petition defending Anya criticizes CMU’s statement as “unacceptable,” “dehumanizing” and “deplorable.”

It also claims that previous donations Bezos has made to CMU may have influenced the university’s response to the controversy. 

“CMU had a choice and their response was a deliberate betrayal against one of their own highly regarded and respected scholars,” the petition reads. “It has further exposed her to threats of violence.” 

Carnegie Mellon University
Carnegie Mellon University “exposed” the professor to “threats of violence,” the petition claims.
Getty Images/iStockphoto

“Professor Anya’s Twitter clearly states: ‘Views are mine,’” the petition adds. “Yet her institution took up the charge to admonish a Black woman professor, calling her response to her lived experiences of the realand tangibleimpacts of colonialism and white supremacy, ‘offensive and objectionable.’” 

“We call on universities to stop being reactive when issues of structural oppression are called to their attention and take seriously its impacts on staff, faculty, students and families,” it reads.

Anya and CMU did not immediately respond to requests for comment. 

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