University condemns professor’s posts wishing Queen ‘excruciating’ death

Linguistics professor Uju Anya works at Carnegie Mellon University, which called her comments ‘objectionable’

Sheila Flynn
Friday 09 September 2022 00:55 BST
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Carnegie Mellon University has condemned social media posts by one of its professors after Dr Uju Anya wished the Queen an “excruciating” death and tweeted that she hoped the Queen would die “in agony.”

Dr Anya made the comments Thursday as reports emerged that the Queen was in her final hours at Balmoral.

“I heard the chief monarch of a thieving raping genocidal empire is finally dying. May her pain be excruciating,” the professor wrote before it was announced the Queen had died.

Twitter took down the tweet for violating its policy; it has not responded to The Independent’s request for comment.

Dr Anya faced a serious Twitter backlash for the seeming insensitivity - even from Amazon founder Jeff Bezos, who then came in for criticism himself - but the professor responded by doubling down on the tweet.

“If anyone expects me to express anything but disdain for the monarch who supervised a government that sponsored the genocide that massacred and displaced half my family and the consequences of which those alive today are still trying to overcome, you can keep wishing upon a star,” she tweeted.

She also responded to Bezos, tweeting at him directly: “Otoro gba gbue gi” - which roughly translates to an Igbo insult wishing someone death - “May everyone you and your merciless greed have harmed in this world remember you as fondly as I remember my colonizers.”

Dr Anya’s employer, Carnegie Mellon - the Pennsylvania university where she is an associate professor of second language acquisition - quickly issued a statement on Thursday.

“We do not condone the offensive and objectionable messages posted by Uju Anya today on her personal social media account,” the university tweeted.

“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.”

Dr Anya, who describes herself on Twitter as an “antiracist” and “feminist,” was born in Nigeria to a Nigerian father and mother from Trinidad and Tobago. Both countries were colonised by the British - Nigeria became independent in 1960, with Trinidad and Tobago following suit two years later.

While many Twitter users, most hailing from former colonies or tracing their ancestry to British-occupied places, agreed with Dr Anya’s mentions of historical genocide and violence, the majority disagreed with her delivery.

One user, @Sumolaldowu, called the professor “uncouth and mannerless” and accused her of having “hate in your heart.”

“You speak of someone who just passed with such a vile and disdaining comment,” the user commented.

Another, @mariescully24, tweeted that, “at the end of the day she was a mother, grandmother, a great grandmother it’s totally disgusting to speak the way she has.”

Dr Anya did not immediately respond to a request for comment from The Independent.

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