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U. Penn Professor Performs Nazi Salute, Says “Sieg heil” During Zoom Conference

Robert Schuyler, a University of Pennsylvania Professor , performed a Nazi salute and stated “Sieg heil” during a brief altercation with a speaker at an archaeological conference on Wednesday December 6th, outraging colleagues. 

Robert Schuyler, who teaches anthropology and is the associate curator-in-charge of the historical archaeology section at the Penn Museum, held his arm in a Nazi salute and said “Sieg heil to you” after believing a speaker cut him off in an attempt to suppress free speech. Schuyler confirmed with The Daily Pennsylvanian that he used the salute and Nazi phrase, but added that he regrets his choice of words and does not endorse Nazism.

OUTRAGEOUS – during a zoom meeting, U. Penn Professor Robert Schuyler threw up a nazi salute and said “heil sieg to you”, believing his video/microphone were off.

Our question is – WHY IS HE STILL EMPLOYED @penn?! pic.twitter.com/TptLLtFEQh— StopAntisemitism.org (@StopAntisemites) January 10, 2021

University spokesperson Stephen MacCarthy and School of Arts and Sciences Dean Steven Fluharty did not respond to inquiries about whether Schuyler would face disciplinary action for his rhetoric at the Society for Historical Archaeology conference plenary session.

The phrase “Sieg heil,” which translates to “Hail victory,” was a widely used slogan for the Nazi Party in Germany. After World War II, the phrase was adopted by white supremacists in North America and elsewhere.

Schuyler said he used the Nazi phrase and salute to reference the limits on freedom of speech in Nazi Germany. He added that he began to regret his decision a few moments later after he received emails from other archaeologists saying that he should be censored and removed from the SHA.

The Penn Museum denounced Schuyler’s actions but declined to state whether he will face any repercussions. “The Penn Museum condemns this reprehensible behavior and dangerous rhetoric,” Penn Museum Public Relations Director Jill DiSanto wrote in an email to the DP. “It is the antithesis of who we are and what we stand for.”

Schuyler said he believes he owes an apology but is awaiting advice from senior people in his field about how to approach the situation. He added that he asked the current SHA president to serve as a “go-between”, but has not yet received her contact.

After watching a recording of the meeting, Anthropology Department Chair Kathleen Morrison notified the Penn Museum, the provost, and the deans of the School of Arts and Sciences to set up meetings. Morrison described Schuyler’s actions as “appalling” and said they do not align with the values of the Anthropology Department or the Penn Museum.

“I don’t think it’s healthy for him to be in contact with students,” she said. 

Schuyler’s use of the Nazi phrase gained attention on social media on Saturday when adjunct assistant professor in anthropology at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill Kristina Killgrove posted a six-tweet thread explaining the incident.