Professor Celebrates Death of First Lady, Taunts Detractors on Twitter

Professor Celebrates Death of First Lady, Taunts Detractors on Twitter
Susan Dutca-Lovell

A Fresno State University professor who "spoke ill of the dead on Twitter" by calling the late Barbara Bush a "generous and smart amazing racist," was applauded at a weekend literary festival. A petition to fire the professor has also gained over 10,000 signatures and calls upon the university to terminate her employment following her inflammatory comments.

Creative writing professor Randa Jarrar took to Twitter following the death of former First Lady Barbara Bush with a series of tweets that stated, "Barbara Bush was a generous and smart and amazing racist who, along with her husband, raised a war criminal." "F--- outta here with your nice words." She then made an "unintentional echo of President George W. Bush's 'with us or against us' moral logic by declaring, "PSA: either you are against these pieces of sh-- and their genocidal ways or you're part of the problem. That's actually how simple this is," adding, "I'm happy the witch is dead. Can't wait for the rest of her family to fall to their demise the way 1.5 million Iraqis have. byyyeeeeeeee."

Jarrar, who is currently under internal university investigation and on leave for the semester boasted that she cannot be fired as a tenured professor. "I work as a tenured professor. I make 100K a year doing that. I will never be fired. I will always have people wanting to hear what I have to say." She further claimed, "What I love about being an American professor is my right to free speech," and that "if you'd like to know what it's like to be an Arab American Muslim American woman with some clout online expressing an opinion...look at the racists going crazy in my mentions right now."

The university maintains that "her statements were made as a private citizen, not a representative of Fresno State." The school's president, Joseph Castro, also denounced her "deeply disrespectful statements" and that "a professor with tenure does not have blanket protection to say and do what they wish." The controversy has allegedly prompted some university donors to consider pulling out financial support if she is not removed from her position.

Although Jarrar was applauded during the literary festival, she did not attend the event amid the uproar over her controversial tweets. In your opinion, is the professor's free speech protected under the First Amendment and/or tenure in this incident? Why or why not?

We make it simple and match you to college scholarships you qualify for.