A University of Pennsylvania professor is under fire for using a Nazi salute and hand gesture during a virtual archaeology conference — telling a colleague “Sieg heil to you,” startling video shows.
Robert Schuyler, an associate professor of anthropology at the university and associate curator at the Penn Museum, cut off another participant during Wednesday’s online discussion to talk about how the pandemic impacted membership renewals for 2021.
“I would say, Robert, this is not the place for you to bring up this,” Liz Quinlan, a researcher and doctoral student at the University of York, told Schuyler, who had been speaking about accessibility issues during the Society for Historical Archaeology event, video shows.
“I’m sorry, but I have freedom of speech and you’re not going to tell me it’s not the place for me to bring this up,” Schuyler replied.
The pair then briefly spoke over each other before Schuyler, who is also the associate curator of the Penn Museum, raised his left hand while making the Nazi salute, the footage shows.
“Sieg heil to you,” Schuyler continued, injecting the “hail victory” slogan used by the Nazi Party in Germany into the virtual event.
The professor confirmed to The Daily Pennsylvanian that he used the phrase but insisted he does not endorse Nazism.
He did not immediately return a request from The Post seeking comment early Monday.
A message seeking comment from university officials on whether Schuyler would be disciplined for the incident was not immediately returned Monday. Some critics have called for his firing online.
Both the Society for Historical Archaeology and the Penn Museum released statements denouncing Schuyler’s conduct.
“Actions have been taken internally to rectify the situation and ensure that a situation like this is addressed in a more timely manner moving forward,” SHA officials said, adding that it takes the matter during its first-ever virtual conference very seriously.
Schuyler, meanwhile, told the Daily Pennsylvanian he believes he owes Quinlan an apology but had not reached out to her as of late Saturday. The professor has asked the SHA president to act as a “go-between” for him and Quinlan, the newspaper reported.
“I think I should be yelled at, but again, I think there’s a very fine line between that and suddenly we’ve all lost our freedom of speech,” Schuyler told the outlet.
The chair of the university’s anthropology department, Kathleen Morrison, said Schuyler’s actions were “appalling” and didn’t align with its values or those of the Penn Museum.
“I don’t think it’s healthy for him to be in contact with students,” Morrison said, adding that she was currently in talks with the university’s dean and provost on the matter. “We’re not going to just let this go. This is something that we take quite seriously.”
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