Wayne State University suspends professor over social media post allegedly advocating violence
Wayne State University has suspended a professor who allegedly posted on social media that people would be justified in killing those with whom they have disagreements, according to a note to the university from President Roy Wilson.
The university became aware of the post Monday morning, Wilson said in his email. The professor, whose identity was not revealed, works in the university's English department. A university spokeswoman declined further comment.
"The post stated that rather than 'shouting down' those with whom we disagree, one would be justified to commit murder to silence them," Wilson wrote. "We have on many occasions defended the right of free speech guaranteed by the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, but we feel this post far exceeds the bounds of reasonable or protected speech. It is, at best, morally reprehensible and, at worst, criminal.
"We have referred this to law enforcement agencies for further review and investigation. Pending their review, we have suspended the professor with pay, effective immediately."
The Free Press was unable to reach the professor for comment.
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In the post attributed to him, the professor writes about "free speech on campus." The Free Press confirmed with two sources that the post was the one being scrutinized. The sources spoke on the condition of anonymity because they had not been cleared to talk to the media about the matter.
"Although I do not advocate violating federal and state criminal codes, I think it is far more admirable to kill a racist, homophobic, or transphobic speaker than it is to shout them down," the post says.
It goes on to say that "right-wing" groups invite speakers to campuses to provoke a reaction from left-wing groups.
"The protesters get blamed instead of the bigoted speaker; the university administration finds a perfect excuse to side publicly with the racists or phobes; the national and international press has a field day saying that bigots are the ones being oppressed, rather than the people those bigots actually hate being the victims of oppression."
The post then cites Sholem Schwarzbad, a Jewish, Russian-born French poet, who in 1926 assassinated Symon Petliura, the former head of the Ukrainian People's Republic. Schwarzbard, who had lost his family in the 1919 pogroms, held Petliura responsible for the deaths and killed Petliura on a Paris street.
"Remember that Schwarzbad was acquitted by a jury, which found his actions justified," the post concludes.
Staff writer Christina Hall contributed to this report. Contact David Jesse: 313-222-8851 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter: @reporterdavidj
This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Wayne State suspends professor it ties to post advocating violence