Prof also fantasized about assaulting President Trump
A professor who was recently forced out of his school over incendiary comments about President Trump is suing the school over the controversy.
Jeff Klinzman resigned from his position at Kirkwood Community College in Cedar Rapids, Iowa last month, after he appeared to fantasize on social media about assaulting Trump with a baseball bat.
Klinzman has a history of controversial social media posts. In one instance, he posted a rant against “evangelical Christians” on Facebook, in which he included a poem that read, in part: “Kill them all and bury them deep in the ground.”
The school removed Klinzman from a class and reportedly told him he would be fired if he did not resign; Klinzman subsequently tendered his resignation. The school’s president, Lori Sundberg, disputed Klinzman’s version of the story, saying the school did not give him that ultimatum but that they did remove him from the class. She cited campus safety as the motivating factor in that decision.
Now, according to news reports, Klinzman is suing his former employer. The professor will sue the institution “for how officials handled blowback to his controversial online statements, Law & Crime reports.
That outlet also notes that the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education, a campus watchdog group, criticized the university’s handling of the controversy:
There is little doubt that institutions face difficult choices in responding to concerns for public and student safety [FIRE wrote], but public institutions like Kirkwood have a First Amendment obligation to avoid placing that burden on the speaker as an expedient shortcut to ending the controversy. Doing so capitulates to the heckler’s veto. As the United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit has explained, the ‘heckler’s veto will nearly always be susceptible to being reimagined and repackaged as a means for protecting the public, or the speaker himself, from actual or impending harm.’
Sundberg stated that she feels she made the right decision.
“[A]t the end of the day for me, if I’m found legally wrong on this, I can live with that. But if I make a wrong decision regarding the safety of the students, and he’s harmed, our students are harmed, or other faculty are harmed, I can’t live with that,” she said.
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