A California State University, Fresno (CSU) professor will not be returning to teach this Fall semester, after tweeting “[President] Trump must hang”, Los Angeles Times reported last weekend.
According to an announcement by CSU president Joseph Castro, the history professor, Lars Maischak, will be tasked to convert two of his courses into an online format instead to fulfill his contractual obligations. Maischak’s contract with CSU only ends next May.
“Dr. Lars Maischak, Fresno State History lecturer, will not be teaching this Fall,” Castro said in a statement last Friday.
BREAKING: Fresno State Lecturer Lars Maischak will not be teaching this fall.
President @JosephICastro's statement: https://t.co/f6EaREUqru pic.twitter.com/sMsosDlAXj
— Fresno State (@Fresno_State) August 5, 2017
Maischak shot to infamy in April when far-right news site, Breitbart News, published his controversial tweet back in February:
“To save American democracy, Trump must hang. The sooner and the higher, the better. #TheResistance #DeathToFascism”
According to USA Politics Today, Maischak had also tweeted this a few days later:
“#TheResistance #ethniccleansing Justice = The execution of two Republicans for each deported immigrant.”
After apologising for the tweets and deleting his Twitter account, Maischak had also taken a voluntary leave of absence, according to Inside Higher Ed.
“My statements each represent the end point of a dark train of thought triggered by my despair over the actions of the present US government,” Maischak told The Fresno Bee.
“It felt cathartic at the time to write them down. With 28 followers on Twitter at the time, I never expected them to be read by anyone, but a close circle of acquaintances who would know to place them in their context.”
“To treat Twitter as of no more consequence than a journal was a poor decision.”
The action on Maischak is triggering concerns among the industry over the state of academic freedom in US universities.
In an email to Inside Higher Ed, Hank Reichman, a professor emeritus of history at California State University, East Bay, and chair of the American Association of University Professors’ Committee A said: “I understand Dr. Maischak alleges his non-renewal is indeed ‘based significantly on considerations that violate academic freedom.’ It would appear to me that this allegation has merit,”
“Maischak’s tweet may have been ill-considered – and he has apologised for it — but he has not been charged with violating any law and he tweeted as a private citizen, not in his faculty capacity. The right of faculty members to speak or write as citizens, free from institutional censorship or discipline, has long been recognised as a core principle of academic freedom.”
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