The web site Campus Reform raised quite a few eyebrows earlier this week when they brought to light the online activities of University of Kansas associate professor David Guth. The “educator” in question was clearly upset after the Washington shipyard shootings and decided to exercise his rights to free speech in a typical, liberal, love your neighbor fashion, directed at the members of the National Rifle Association.
A journalism professor at the University of Kansas (KU) turned to Twitter on Monday to suggest he would like to see the murder of children of National Rifle Association (NRA) members at the hands of a deranged gunman.
“Next time, let it be YOUR sons and daughters, he continued. “Shame on you. May God damn you.”
Here’s the tweet in question.
As you might well imagine, this had more than a few of the citizens and legislators up in arms (so to speak) in short order, and calls were soon ringing out across the state for his removal from the university’s staff. And quick like a bunny, KU jumped into action.
Guth was put on paid administrative leave Friday, and the university has taken steps to distance itself from the tweet. In a statement reported by Fox4 in Kansas, the school’s vice chancellor called the tweet “repugnant,” while Ann Brill, Kansas’ journalism dean, said the university does not agree with Guth and does not “advocate violence directed against any group or individuals.”
While the university has taken steps against Guth, Republican state lawmakers want Guth fired. If he isn’t, they say, the school could face consequences. State Senate President Susan Wagle (R-Wichita) and Senate Majority Leader Terry Bruce (R-Hutchison) have both issued statements calling for Guth’s dismissal. State Sen. Greg Smith (R-Overland Park) released a statement Friday saying that unless further action is taken against Guth, he will react.
Well, that was certainly harsh, wasn’t it? I mean, Guth must have expected some sort of negative reaction to his comments, but he probably didn’t think they would bring the hammer down to such a medieval degree that he’d be sent on a paid vacation. Still, it’s good to see that he’s accepting responsibility for his actions and not protesting this horribly harsh punishment too strongly.
Guth told The Huffington Post in an email he agreed with University of Kansas officials’ request to take paid administrative leave because of the threats. He explained:
“I have had conversations with the university and have agreed to this action — an administrative leave with pay — in light of the abusive email threats I and others have received. It is in it the best interests and peace of mind of our students that I remove myself from the situation and let cooler heads prevail. It is unfortunate that my comments have been deliberately distorted. I know what I meant. Unfortunately, this is a topic that generates more heat than light. I don’t think any further comment would be appropriate at this time.”
This guy is an incredible piece of work. But perhaps this can serve as yet another example of one of the many problems in the current education system. Guth is listed as a “tenured professor” in his bio, and that tells you a lot right there. Once you get that tenured status, you become virtually untouchable in far too many cases. And even if the schools harbor any serious desire to rid themselves of such embarrassments, their options are probably limited. But Guth is paid, at least in part, with taxpayer money, and in the end it is only the taxpayers – as well as the parents paying tuition at private universities – who can vote with the power of the purse to change things.