Folks, we’re going to delve into something pretty dicey here, so as famous sorority chick at University of Maryland said, “Strap yourself down to your chair, this is going to be a rough ride” (in so many words).
I want you guys to check out this link here. Ok. If you are too lazy to click this link, let me fill you in. There’s a professor (with tenure, of course!) at a university in Florida. He blogs about all sorts of controversial things, but, of late, he has questioned whether or not the Sandy Hook Elementary shootings and the Boston terrorist bombings “were real”. Yes, let that sink in a sec.
He offers all kinds of interesting points, regarding the Boston marathon bombings. The terrorists were not granted due process (I mean…I think due process goes out the window when you start shooting at the police trying to catch you), the government was carrying out training drills that may have gone awry (or even, some suggest he thinks it was a government-intentional event). Yes this is all so unpleasant and most of us probably think this guy is crazy. We could just wave our hand and dismiss him and say, “well, he has a right to free speech”.
But can you yell “fire!” in a movie theater? Students have withdrawn applications. Parents have actually pulled their children from the school. The college time and time again has tried to distance themselves from this faculty’s personal blog. But, how do you guarantee that you can separate the personal and professional? Sorry, but it makes me a little uneasy thinking about sending a child of mine to this guy’s class.
One could argue that this faculty is cheating the university out of money. Since he is tied to them professionally, his highly controversial comments reflect on them as much as they reflect on him. They apparently “reprimanded” him for his blogging on Sandy Hook because he didn’t “distance himself” from the university. That’s it?! That’s all the college can do?
How do we make any sense of this? In an age where the internet could aid us in anonymity when we want to let out our rebellious side a little, this man is shouting from the rooftops who he is, who he works for, and how the deaths of those children and teachers in Sandy Hook maybe didn’t happen. To make matters worse (more ironic?), he teaches effective communication at this university. So, with a situation like this, what is a university to do? Can they fire him? Can he sue them? He’s tenured! Meaning untouchable?