Slossberg apologizes to UConn students for offensive word

State Sen. Gayle Slossberg's introductory remarks to a group of University of Connecticut students had her facing some public scrutiny this week.

Slossberg issued a statement this week noting that she apologized to UConn students for a statement she made Oct. 3 while visiting the school to discuss the state budget.

While introducing herself and talking about her start in politics, Slossberg told the students that she once worked with a Milford-based PTA to remove books from a school library because the books contained racial slurs. Slossberg said the offensive word aloud when talking to the UConn students.

The UConn College Democrats issued a statement Oct. 7 noting their objection to Slossberg’s use of the derogatory word. They prefaced their remarks by saying they invited Slossberg to the school to talk about the state budget, primarily as it relates to UConn, with a focus on her vote for a Republican spending plan.

“As a member of the PTA, State Senator Slossberg worked to have books with racial epithets removed from grade school libraries,” the UConn students wrote in their statement. “While describing this work, State Senator Slossberg explicitly used the N-word, without euphemisms, within the context of its presence in the books. We have received a formal apology from State Senator Slossberg about the use of this word.”

The statement goes on to say that Slossberg’s use of the word was “reprehensible and unjustifiable.”

“There is no excuse for her use of this kind of language, regardless of context,” the statement reads.

“We understand the visceral reaction some of our members had and will be starting a dialogue about this language at our next meeting,” the statement reads.

Slossberg discussed her remark in a statement released Oct. 12, and noted that she apologized to the students.

“In my introductory remarks to the UConn College Democrats, I relayed a personal experience about education and fighting racism," Slossberg said. "I was talking about children’s books that were outdated and inappropriate for elementary school children. In describing that the books were so inappropriate for young children, I referenced the actual word aloud as it appeared in the text of a children’s book. My intention was to convey that this word has no place in our society, especially in teaching our children.”

Slossberg said she apologized after saying the word.

“I responded immediately for the offense caused by my utterance and sent a formal apology to the entire club,” Slossberg said.
"To be clear," she added, "at an academic institution of higher education, I referenced the word as it appeared in the text of a children’s book. My point was to emphasize that that word had no place in a children’s book in a children’s library or any place else.  And I successfully worked to remove these inappropriate books from the children’s library."