A University of South Carolina professor accused of making a racist comment about welfare toward one of his students has issued an apology.
In an email sent Friday, professor Tobias Lanz said he was "issuing an apology to Ms. Bogni and all of my Political Science 201 class."
"I made a joke last week that was never intended to offend anyone," Lanz wrote. "Unfortunately, it did and I am sorry."
On Thursday, during a class discussion about welfare, junior Angela Bogni's phone rang, and Lanz said, "that may be the welfare office calling you now," according to a post by Bogni on Twitter.
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When Bogni, who is African-American, confronted the teacher after class, he said he was joking and the comment was not meant to be derogatory, according to a video she posted on Twitter. But she said nobody found it funny.
"Today was my first experience with head-on racism at this institution," Bogni wrote in a statement on Twitter. "No one laughed ... in a class of over 200 students."
After class, Bogni confronted the teacher, recorded the interaction and posted it on Twitter. In the video, the teacher said he heard a phone go off, but didn't know whose it was and was making the comment generally.
In his email apology, Lanz wrote, "I am truly saddened and shocked by this turn of events because I value the relationship I have with my students. In my 24 years at USC, it has never been my intention to offend. I look forward to speaking with Ms. Bogni personally as we move forward."
USC President Harris Pastides earlier condemned the remark after the video of the professor circulated on Twitter.
"I’m sorry for what you experienced today and deeply troubled by comments that perpetuate racist stereotypes. This is not representative of @UofSC. We stand with you," Pastides wrote in a tweet.