Drexel professor placed on leave after Las Vegas tweets

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A Drexel University professor was placed on leave after receiving threats due to his tweets posted after the recent Las Vegas attack.

George Ciccariello-Maher, an associate professor of politics and global studies, received backlash after tweeting that the Las Vegas shooting – which killed 58 and injured around 500 – was “what happens when those who believe they deserve to own the world also think it’s being stolen from them.”

Ciccariello-Maher began a controversial string of tweets detailing his thoughts on the Las Vegas shooting the day after it occurred.

“The narrative of white victimization has been gradually built over the past 40 years.” He continued to tweet saying, “It is the spinal column of Trumpism, and most extreme form is the white genocide myth.”

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It’s the white supremacist patriarchy, stupid.

– George Ciccariello (@ciccmaher) October 2, 2017

He also took on liberals saying “liberal escapism” means people will simply continue to ask easy questions and propose easy non-solutions rather than discussing who kills and why.

“To believe that someone who would shoot down 50 people wouldn’t circumvent any gun law you pass is the height of delusion,” he wrote.

Ciccariello-Maher – who has drawn prior social media controversy for a post saying “All I want for Christmas is white genocide” and another saying he wanted to “vomit” after an airline passenger gave up their seat to a soldier – has received numerous threats since he published the Las Vegas tweets.

Drexel University decided to place him on leave, citing the importance of safety for students, faculty and professional staff in light of the threats.

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“Due to a growing number of threats directed at Professor George Ciccariello-Maher, and increased concerns about both his safety and the safety of Drexel’s community, after careful consideration the University has decided to place Professor Ciccariello-Maher on administrative leave,” the university said in a statement. “We believe this is a necessary step to ensure the safety of our campus.”

His tweets were first picked up by the Daily Caller where they quickly spread to other conservative media outlets like Breitbart News, the Blaze, and Turning Point among others. The comments also landed on the conspiracy theory website Infowars and various online forums.

Ciccariello-Maher wrote an op-ed in the Washington Post in which he said his string of tweets was “relatively uncontroversial” and claimed he is being “targeted by a coordinated right-wing campaign to undermine our academic freedom.”

He wrote that Fox News picked up the story and claimed he placed blame for the massacre on Trump and the victims.

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He said he was even invited to appear on Tucker Carlson’s show, but declined the offer.

Ciccariello-Maher decried Drexel placing him on leave and said the university has sent the wrong signal by giving in to pressure.


(Sebastian Weigand/Wikimedia Commons)

“Such cowardice notwithstanding, I am prepared to take all necessary legal action to protect my academic freedom, tenure rights and most importantly, the rights of my students to learn in a safe environment where threats don’t hold sway over intellectual debate,” Ciccariello-Maher said.

He said he intends to continue efforts to make Drexel and all universities a safe space for intellectual debate among equals.

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