EUGENE, Ore. (AP) - A University of Oregon law professor who donned blackface as part of a costume at her Halloween party has apologized.

The Register-Guard reports Saturday that Nancy Shurtz says she wore the costume in hopes of stimulating a discussion about race relations.

Shurtz says she dressed up as Dr. Damon Tweedy, who wrote a best-selling memoir called "Black Man in a White Coat: A Doctor's Reflections on Race and Medicine."

The recent autobiography recounts the racism Tweedy encountered in medical school.

Shurtz remains on paid administrative leave.

A petition is circulating that asks for her resignation but another petition is circulating that defends her actions as free speech.

Shurtz wore a white coat and stethoscope with her black face paint.