A Michigan State University professor has sparked massive outrage after opening his first day of class with a not-so-subtle rant against Republicans.
“If you go to the Republican convention in Florida, you see all those old people with all the dead skin cells washing off them – uh, they’re cheap. They don’t want to pay taxes because they’ve already raped this country and gotten everything out of it they possibly could,” Professor William Penn can be heard saying on a cell phone video taken by one of his students.
“They’re a bunch of dead white people, or dying white people,” Penn continued, criticizing the idea of a moderate or conservative “silent majority” in America.
He also told his students that he didn’t mean to offend them if they’re Republicans. “I absolutely don’t mean to offend you. Even if you are a Republican, I don’t mean to offend you in this class. Outside of class is a different matter.”
Since the rant made national headlines Wednesday (even appearing on The O’Reilly Factor), Michigan State has opened an investigation into Professor William Penn, who is also an award-winning fiction and non-fiction writer. Some have criticized Penn of harassing students in his classroom, though that isn’t clear in the video.
At least two Michigan State trustees who saw the video have criticized Penn’s rant. “It didn’t give me the impression that he was inviting different views, which is kind of the culture we’re trying to encourage,” said MSU Trustee Mitch Lyons.
MSU spokesman Kent Cassella said in a statement Thursday that the University was made aware of Penn’s rant on September 3.
“The dean of the College of Arts and Letters and a representative from the provost’s office met with Penn, who acknowledged that some of his comments were inappropriate, disrespectful and offensive and may have negatively affected the learning environment,” Cassella said.
“Penn’s teaching duties have been reassigned to others. Students’ education will continue as scheduled with alternate instructors.”
Watch the video of MSU Professor William Penn blasting Republicans above, and let us know if you agree with the school’s decision to place him on leave.