She was right — she won’t be fired.
A Fresno State professor who called Barbara Bush an “amazing racist” hours after the former first lady’s death will not lose her job despite the fact that her comments were an “embarrassment to the university,” the school president said.
Officials at the California school decided not to take disciplinary action against Randa Jarrar after making the determination that she was “acting in a private capacity” when she spoke about Bush on her Twitter account last week.
“Her comments, although disgraceful, are protected free speech under the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution,” president Joseph Castro wrote to the campus on Tuesday. “Additionally, although Professor Jarrar used tenure to defend her behavior, this private action is an issue of free speech and not related to her job or tenure.”
The English professor wrote on Twitter on April 17 that Bush was a “generous and smart and amazing racist who, along with her husband, raised a war criminal,” according to the Fresno Bee. Bush, the wife of President George H.W. Bush and the mother of President George W. Bush, passed away earlier in the day at the age of 92.
Jarrar also boasted that she would not be fired for making the comments, and added about Bush: “F–k outta here with your nice words.”
“What I love about being an American professor is my right to free speech, and what I love about Fresno State is that I always feel protected and at home here,” she tweeted last week, according to the Bee. “GO BULLDOGS!”
Castro wrote in his letter to campus that Jarrar’s conduct was “insensitive, inappropriate and an embarrassment to the university.” However, the administration is not going to punish Jarrar, who will remain on leave through the semester, as previously planned.
“Our duty as Americans and as educators is to promote a free exchange of diverse views, even if we disagree with them,” Castro wrote. “At Fresno State, we encourage opinions and ideas to be expressed in a manner that informs, enlightens and educates without being disparaging of others.”
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