A white, male professor at UNH accused of impersonating a woman of color on social media

  • In this April 19, 2018, photo, students walk by a pop-up exhibit outside a dining hall at the University of New Hampshire in Durham, N.H. A year after several racist incidents at UNH, the state's flagship research institution has announced a series of steps to address ways to increase diversity of the school's faculty and take steps to improve graduation rates for minority students. (AP Photo/Elise Amendola) Elise Amendola

Monitor staff
Published: 10/1/2020 4:06:42 PM
Modified: 10/1/2020 4:06:32 PM

The University of New Hampshire is investigating a white, male professor who is accused of impersonating a woman of color on Twitter and posting sexist and racist comments. 

An assistant professor in the chemistry department has been accused of running a Twitter account, which posted under the name “The Science Femme,” that has routinely mocked transgender women and the diversity efforts of students following the death of George Floyd.  

Erika Mantz, a spokesperson from the university, said the school immediately launched an investigation after learning of the accusations.

“We are deeply troubled by what we’ve learned so far,” she said without naming the professor.

The professor did not respond to the Monitor’s requests for comment. While the professor’s name is used on social media, the Monitor is not identifying him at this time. 

The male professor is accused of claiming to be a woman of color who immigrated to the United States and grew up in poverty. In one tweet he said he slept “on a dirt floor.” According to the professor’s university page, he is a native of southern New Jersey.  

For months, the Science Femme account, which has since been deleted, posted inflammatory comments on the far corners of the internet, including explicit photos and derogatory language.

The professor behind the tweets was called out on social media after he posted the same picture of an elaborate coffee bar setup on both his personal Twitter account and the Science Femme account 11 minutes apart. He later posted the same photo of pork on both accounts.

In a public statement on the chemistry department’s Twitter account, Glen Miller, the chair of the department, said he wholeheartedly rejects any statements which “minimize, dismiss, hurt or harm others,” though did not explicitly mention the specific accusations against the other professor.

“That is not us,” he said in the statement. “That is not what we stand for. That is not who we are. Nor will it ever be.”

Aside from the obvious differences in gender and race between the professor and The Science Femme, there are several similarities between the two identities. For example, they both run triathlons and study machine learning and solar energy.

In one comment, the Science Femme responded to a tweet from Katie Hill, a U.S Congresswoman, with the explicit photos that are thought to have been leaked by Hill’s estranged husband. Another thread details a strategy to stop the UNH chemistry department from releasing a statement of diversity equity and inclusion following the death of George Floyd.

“I was successful in removing all woke terminology from the statement including anti-racism, white supremacy, white privilege,” the post read. “It was a self-flagellating admission of guilt and shame for things we had not done that no sane person would agree to sign.”

Other, more vulgar tweets, contained transphobic and sexist comments towards women.

This year, the university has publicly made diversity and inclusion a top priority for the administration. In addition to hosting several town halls with the Chief Diversity Officer, they rolled out a new action plan that aims to address systemic racism at the university.

However, many on social media have questioned the sincerity of those efforts are awaiting the university’s response to these allegations against a faculty member.

Teddy Rosenbluth bio photo

Teddy Rosenbluth is a Report for America corps member covering health care issues for the Concord Monitor since spring 2020. She has covered science and health care for Los Angeles Magazine, the Santa Monica Daily Press and UCLA's Daily Bruin, where she was a health editor and later magazine director. Her investigative reporting has brought her everywhere from the streets of Los Angeles to the hospitals of New Delhi. Her work garnered first place for Best Enterprise News Story from the California Journalism Awards, and she was a national finalist for the Society of Professional Journalists Best Magazine Article. She graduated from UCLA with a bachelor’s degree in psychobiology.

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