By Lukas Mikelionis, ,
Published April 24, 2018
A petition to fire the Fresno State professor who called the late Barbara Bush “an amazing racist” has attracted over 10,000 signatures as of Tuesday morning.
The appeal calls upon California State University, Fresno to terminate the employment of English professor Randa Jarrar for comments she made about Bush shortly after her death.
“Immediate termination of Professor Randa Jarrar for racism and inflammatory comments regarding a former First Lady of the United States, Barbara Bush,” the petition reads.
Jarrar has come under fire after calling Bush “an amazing racist” and said she was happy that “the witch is dead,” just hours after she died.
The professor, who’s currently subject to an internal university investigation and on leave for the semester, also boasted that she can’t be fired because she’s a tenured professor.
“I work as a tenured professor. I make 100K a year doing that. I will never be fired. I will always have people wanting to hear what I have to say,” she wrote on Twitter.
Jarrar also drew the ire of people for posting a phone number for a crisis hotline at Arizona State University, falsely claiming that’s her number. The hotline, normally receives just a few calls per week, was flooded with calls.
The controversy over the professor’s remarks prompted some donors to the university to consider pulling out financial support if Jarrar isn’t removed from the position.
Ed Dunkel Jr., who made sizable financial contributions to Fresno State, said he will await the outcome of the controversy before deciding whether to close his checkbook.
“I have a lot of friends that I've been talking to, and these are people who donate now and talking about holding back, and some are even questioning whether to send their kids to Fresno State," Dunkel told the Fresno Bee.
But while Fresno State leadership has condemned Jarrar for her comments about Bush, she received backing from advocacy groups, saying her speech was protected under the First Amendment.
“Jarrar’s tweets are unquestionably protected speech under the First Amendment and Fresno State has no power to censor, punish, or terminate Jarrar for them,” Adam Steinbaugh, senior program officer for FIRE (Foundation for Individual Rights in Education), said in a statement to Fox News.
The embattled professor was also applauded at a literary festival she was forced to withdraw from amid the controversy.