Bridgewater State University has placed a professor on paid leave following revelations that he made disparaging comments about Trump supporters on social media.
A university spokesperson told The Enterprise Thursday that BSU has placed Dr. Garrett Nichols on paid leave “for personal safety reasons,” citing unspecified threats directed at Nichols that are being investigated by the police.
As previously reported by Campus Reform, Nichols’ posts came to light after Alyssa Hood, a student in one of his classes, noticed that her reading assignments were suspiciously left-leaning and went so far as to mock former President George W. Bush while praising former Presidents Barack Obama and Bill Clinton.
After realizing that the professor “was definitely a Democrat,” she became concerned that the professor was “politically one-sided” and worried that she would not be graded fairly due to her conservative viewpoints.
While perusing Nichols’ Facebook page for confirmation of her suspicions, Hood noticed one in which Nichols declared “F**k Donald Trump” and “F**k ANYONE who voted for Donald Trump.”
He went on to say, “F**k ANYONE who tries to sell me some line about ‘coming together.’ We ARE together. And you are no longer welcome.”
After the Klu Klux Klan announced they would hold a Trump victory parade, the professor wrote “Trump voters: you all belong in this parade.”
“I actually learned in his class some logical fallacies…for example the straw man fallacy which is basically when people oversimplify someone’s views and attack the hollow evidence that supports it…and I think for him to teach this to us it’s such hypocrisy as he is basically implementing this on those who support Trump,” Hood told Campus Reform initially. “It’s really astonishing that he thought this was okay, especially publicly.”
Additionally, she pointed out that Nichols’ own syllabus instructs students to be respectful of all members of the community, specifying that “any talk, writing, or actions that single out or demean others are unacceptable and will not be tolerated.”
The threats received by Nichols were investigated by university police, who found no basis for taking any action against the professor.
While some current students have reached out to university officials to express support for the professor, though, others are pleased that he has been removed from the classroom.
Jason Ross, a student at Bridgewater and Chairman of the Massachusetts Alliance of College Republicans, told Campus Reform, “I’m glad that the professor was placed on paid leave because there is no way any even slightly conservative-leaning students would feel comfortable in his class, especially considering this professor still hasn’t apologized for his comments.”
The university currently doesn’t have a policy regarding social media use, but has now begun to explore its options in light of the controversy, according to NBC.