Middlebury chemistry professor on leave after Nazi gas chamber exam question

"This inexplicable failure of judgment trivializes one of the most horrific events in world history."

Middlebury College.
Middlebury College. –Corey Hendrickson / The Boston Globe

MIDDLEBURY, Vt. (AP) — A Middlebury College chemistry professor whose written exam question asked students to calculate the lethal dose of a poisonous gas used in Nazi gas chambers during the Holocaust has taken a leave of absence.

The Vermont college said in a written statement last week that it’s investigating under the terms of its faculty misconduct policy.

Professor Jeff Byers apologized to the university community in an April 10 written statement on the college’s website. He says he gave two exams in the last year containing questions that were “clearly offensive, hurtful, and injurious” to students, blaming his actions on “carelessness and hubris.”

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Middlebury President Laurie Patton says “this inexplicable failure of judgment trivializes one of the most horrific events in world history” and has no place on Middlebury’s campus.

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