The eight minute long anti-Republican rant was videotaped by a student who gave it to Campus Reform, a group that monitors liberal bias at university.
The tenured professor received a paid semester-long sabbatical as "punishment" for his rants, but he will continue to draw his $146,510 annual salary.
What did William Penn say?
What did this professor say that was so controversial? After all, professors are known for making provocative statements during class.
Penn started by saying that “If you go to the Republican convention in Florida, you see all of the old Republicans with the dead skin cells washing off them. They are cheap. They don’t want to pay taxes because they have already raped this country and gotten everything out of it they possibly could.”
Penn also expressed his belief that the country is full of “closet racists” trying to suppress blacks from voting because they tend to vote Democratic.
“Why would Republicans want to do it? Because Republicans are not a majority in this country anymore. They are a bunch of dead white people. Or dying white people.”
He also insulted the Romneys, asking the students who would want to be Mitt Romney? Married to Ann?
In addition, during the rant he bullied at least one student, asking her “why are you frowning?”
Ironically, Penn is a noted American Indian writer who has won awards for his books that deal with stereotypes.
Why were Penn’s comments wrong?
Professors are protected by their First Amendment rights. However, their freedom of speech must be related to their courses, according to experts.
Michigan Republican Party Chairman Bobby Schostak stated that Penn’s comments are nothing more than bullying.
“This behavior is inexcusable and does not belong in our children’s classrooms, but the fact he is still receiving taxpayer dollars while suspended sends the wrong message.”
Students were divided about whether or not Penn should have been removed. They did all agree that the professor had spent several hours of his first few classes “talking about his personal opinions and preaching them,” rather than teaching.
Karin Wurst, the dean of MSU’s College of Arts and Letters, emailed an apology to students.
“I first want to personally apologize, as does Professor Penn, to any student who was offended or made to feel uncomfortable during the class,” she wrote in the email.
“At MSU and in the College of Arts and Letters, it is our commitment to create a learning environment that is characterized by mutual respect and civility where diverse ideas can be explored.”
The university has not made a decision about his future teaching career.
For more information, see MSU professor pulled from classroom after rant against Republicans.
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