An ill-advised tweet cost the job and may have destroyed the career of former University of Tampa Associate Sociology professor Ken Story, after he posted this very provocative message on Twitter last Sunday night:
I don’t believe in instant Karma but this kinda feels like it for Texas. Hopefully this will help them realize the GOP doesn’t care about them.
Perhaps today Mr. Story has a different opinion about karma, because the consequences of his thoughtless and absurd tweet have been swift and severe. The University of Tampa no longer employs him as a college professor.
In an interview with news outlet WFTS, University of Tampa student Melissa Paradise said, “It is free speech and he does have the right to say that, except he is a representative of this institution. And for a professor, someone who is shaping and molding young minds—I’m not sure that is the sort of professor I want shaping and molding young minds. I think he owes an apology.”
Former professor Story issued an apology, but it was too little, too late. He wrote,
I apologize for the tweets. My intention was never to offend anyone. This was a series of tweets taken out of context. I was referring to the GOP denial of climate change science and push to decrease funds from agencies that can help in a time like this. I hope all affected by the storm are safe and recover quickly. I also hope this helps the GOP realize the need to support climate change research and put in place better funding for agencies like NOAA and FEMA.
How exactly could his expressed wishes that people who voted for Donald Trump should suffer (and possibly die) be taken out of context? What made a sociology professor so sure about “climate change” that he would risk expressing such inflammatory opinions on social media?
Kudos to University of Tampa President Ronald Vaughn listening to his students, and for his swift and decisive action to terminate Professor Story’s employment.
College students with “skulls full of mush”, as Rush Limbaugh might say, don’t need their young and impressionable minds filled with such vitriol and hateful thoughts.
Even if the tweet was meant to be a joke, it was spectacularly unfunny.
Professor Story’s choice of words was also quite disturbing. Words like denier are charged and polarizing, an implied slur. The purpose of attending college is to further one’s education, not to receive an indoctrination into liberal groupthink.
A Holocaust denier believes Hitler and the Nazis did not murder six million Jews in concentration camps. A science denier is typically anyone who questions Darwinian natural selection as the best explanation for the origin of species. And now the term climate denier is used to belittle the opinions of anyone who dares question the “scientific consensus” regarding abrupt climate change. Clearly, the word denier has a very negative connotation, no matter the application.
The use of such inflammatory language is nothing more than a rather shameless attempt to marginalize the opinions of one’s opponent in debate, and demonize them. One might even reasonably assume that Professor Story was rather stupidly suggesting that global warming caused the hurricane, with no evidence to support such a claim.
Then again, liberals sometimes can have great difficulty applying logic and reason in the real world, and to real life.
While it may seem harsh that a college professor might lose his job for exercising his First Amendment right of free speech, don’t forget that the speaker is not fully protected from suffering consequences of his or her speech.
Remember that Brendan Eich, former president and founder of Mozilla Corporation, was forced out of his job because he had once made a $1,000 contribution to a campaign opposed to same-sex marriage, and six years later, social justice warriors discovered the confidential donation and engaged in a campaign that ultimately resulted in Eich’s forced resignation. Even though Brendan Eich had never done nothing publicly to draw attention to the fact he opposed same-sex marriage, radical activists managed to succeed in their effort to destroy his career.
Professor Story should count his blessings.
No matter how bad the temporary loss of income may hurt, at least he didn’t completely lose his mind and his freedom like Diablo Valley College Philosophy Professor Eric Clanton, who was arrested for assault with a deadly weapon after his disgusting attack on a Trump supporter with a metal bike lock. Quite ironically, one of the courses Professor Clanton will no longer be teaching was titled “Introduction to Ethics.”
If anyone is wondering what is wrong with education in America today, remember that these people allegedly were our intellectual elites, employed as educators. Is this the best and brightest that academia has to offer? I’m pretty sure the true answer to that rhetorical question is “no” — at least, I sincerely hope that’s the right answer. Otherwise, God help us all.
Also remember that an educator’s job is to educate, not to indoctrinate. Everyone may well be entitled to have their personal opinions, but sometimes it might not be such a great idea to share those opinions with the rest of the world.
For every action, there is usually an equal and opposite reaction.