You have probably heard or read that a faculty member at our university used his personal Twitter account to make comments in the wake of the Navy Yard shooting in Washington, D.C., that have understandably generated outrage.
The University of Kansas has already decried these comments as offensive and not representative of our university, therefore I will not further spread the comments by quoting them here.
Because of the disruption following these comments and in response to concerns expressed by students in the School of Journalism, the professor has been placed on administrative leave with pay so that the university may review the entire situation.
Free speech is essential to the functioning of a university, and I want to emphasize that this action was taken in order to avoid further disruption of the learning environment and not because of the nature of the professor’s comments, regardless of how controversial they may be. The professor has agreed this leave is in the best interests of students.
I hope that we can use this opportunity to reflect upon the role each of us plays as a member of this intellectual community. On or off campus, our individual actions and statements reflect on the University of Kansas, and we should strive to honor that affiliation with civility and mutual respect.