FRESNO, Calif. – A Fresno State lecturer who says he was demoted after posting a tweet that Donald Trump "must hang" says the university president is again failing to defend academic freedom, this time over a professor who called former First Lady Barbara Bush an "amazing racist."
In an opinion posted Thursday by The Fresno Bee, Lars Maischak says university President Joseph Castro is siding with attackers of English professor Randa Jarrar instead of standing up to the "fascist threat to academic freedom."
Writers and free speech advocates also called on California State University, Fresno on Thursday to end its investigation of Jarrar's tweets. Meanwhile, critics continued to slam Jarrar on social media for being insensitive so soon after Bush's death was announced Tuesday.
"Barbara Bush was a generous and smart and amazing racist who, along with her husband, raised a war criminal," Jarrar wrote on a Twitter account Tuesday that has since been made private. In response to critics, she said she was a tenured professor who could not be fired.
Jarrar is on leave this semester and scheduled to return in the fall. She grew up in Kuwait and Egypt and moved to the United States after the Gulf War, according to her university faculty page.
She describes herself in her Twitter messages as an Arab-American and a Muslim-American woman. She did not respond to requests for comments from The Associated Press.
Jarrar further enraged people when she posted as her contact information a phone number that serves as a crisis hotline for Arizona State University.
Castro said Wednesday that the university would review the facts and look into the faculty's collective bargaining agreement.
"A professor with tenure does not have blanket protection to say and do what they wish," he said. "We are all held accountable for our actions."
In the case of Maischak, the history lecturer's classes were converted into online courses after the university discovered in April 2017 a tweet that said in part, "to save American democracy, Trump must hang."
University spokeswoman Patti Waid did not immediately respond to a request for comment Thursday.
Fresno State is the university's popular name.