5:55 p.m. update: A Texas State University anthropology professor is disputing accounts of a student walkout Tuesday that appeared online on the Tab website.
In a statement to the American-Statesman, Dr. Jon McGee said that, “in regards to today’s story in The Tab, I don’t recall any of this from my class on Tuesday. This is an introductory cultural anthropology class of 390 students. The topic of the day was concepts of race, and I mentioned the Black Lives Matter movement as an example of how race is an important issue in the U.S.”
“But the main point of the discussion was the evidence for modern human origins in Africa based on mitochondrial DNA analysis,” McGee said.
“I did not see a large-scale walkout of students, I did not hear any chants of “Black Lives Matter” and there was no further classwide discussion of the topic. In fact, no students approached me after class to talk about this,” he said.
“With 390 students it is possible that someone did not like the topic and walked out, but with that size class it is common for students to walk in and out of class and I do not question their reasons for doing so. Consequently, I have no basis on which to determine a student’s reasons for leaving class,” McGee said.
Earlier: About five Texas State University students angrily left their cultural anthropology class Tuesday after the professor commented about why he feels the Black Lives Matter movement is important, according to students quoted in the Tab website.
Texas State student A’marion James tweeted about the incident along with a photo of one of his classmates exiting the lecture hall.
My Professor just said all living ppl are descendants from Africa and ppl got up and walked out and now their arguing 💀💀💀 pic.twitter.com/TNj6EDmybv— Aj (@amvrion) October 18, 2016
“Our professor made a statement that All Lives Matter isn’t as important as Black Lives Matter because black lives are being taken the most,” James told the Statesman through a twitter message. “Then he said that we were all descendants from Africa, and about five students walked out. (I’m) not sure if that was the reason, but right after he made the statement they got up and left and I could see anger in some of the students.”
After the comment was made and some students left the class, arguments between students about Black Lives Matter ensued, James said.
Anthropology professor Jon McGee declined to publicly comment before speaking with university officials.