We have another example of a teacher being disciplined for an act of free speech in his private time. I have previously written about the increasing scrutiny given public school teachers in their use of social media sites. University of Kansas Associate Professor of Journalism David Guth has been placed on administrative leave after posting an anti-NRA tweet following the recent Navy Yard shootings that killed 12 people. Guth tweeted” “blood is on the hands of the #NRA. Next time, let it be YOUR sons and daughters. Shame on you. May God damn you.”
Chancellor Bernadette Gray-Little issued the following statement after Guth was placed on administrative leave:
“In order to prevent disruptions to the learning environment for students, the School of Journalism and the university, I have directed Provost Jeffrey Vitter to place Associate Professor Guth on indefinite administrative leave pending a review of the entire situation. Professor Guth’s classes will be taught by other faculty members.”
While the statement is framed in terms of avoidance “disruptions,” it does not appear to be at the request of Guth. Free speech is often limited in the name of maintaining order and avoiding disruptions. Once again, I find the statement of Guth to be repulsive in wishing the death of the children of gun rights supporters. Yet, it was clearly a political statement made outside of the university.
Nevertheless, Kansas State Senator Greg Smith wants Guth to be fired for engaging in free speech. He is further promising to oppose any appropriations for the university. That sounds like threatening students in protest of a tweet deemed threatening to children of NRA members. A curious moral high ground.
Smith, a former law enforcement officer, however may feel such a threat particularly acutely. His website cites the kidnapping, sexual assault, and murder of his daughter, Kelsey, as his motivation to continue in public service. I can certainly understand why Guth’s words would be particularly hurtful to Smith. Yet, threatening an entire academic institution for the views of a single faculty member is excessive and wrong-headed.
Likewise, the Kansas State Rifle Association President Patricia Stoneking has pledged that it “will do everything possible to see to the removal of this man . . . He should be fired immediately. His statements are outrageous!. . . Is this who you want teaching your children? I certainly do not want him teaching mine.” Of course, these are not children but college students who are part of an academic community built on the exchange of different ideas and values.
For his part, Guth is not backing down. He is quoted as saying “I don’t apologize for it because I’m not saying in the tweet that I want anybody harmed, and I expanded on it in my blog.”
He is not getting a lot of public support from Ann Brill, dean of the William Allen White School of Journalism and Mass Communications. Brill wrote that “While the First Amendment allows anyone to express an opinion, that privilege is not absolute and must be balanced with the rights of others. That’s vital to civil discourse. Professor Guth’s views do not represent our school and we do not advocate violence directed against any group or individuals.” The reference to the limits of the first amendment by Brill would seem to encourage those who want Guth disciplined by suggesting that this case might fall within those limits. However, this is an expression of a teacher on a matter of great social and political debate. I do not believe that he actually wanted harm to come to NRA family members. He used injudicious and offensive words to convey his passion. Since some of his students are likely gun rights supporters, it was particularly disturbing. However, he was on a social media site expressing his anger in the aftermath of a great tragedy. I do not see how the “limits” of free speech would allow the discipline of a teacher for such a statement in such a circumstance. Notably, it is Brill’s”limits” point that was quoted by the Regents of the University.
Ironically, Guth specializes in public relations according to his resume. He has a M.A. in Journalism, University of North Carolina – Chapel Hill (1990) and a B.A. in Radio, Television and Speech, University of Maryland at College Park, 1973.
Do you believe that a professor can or should be disciplined for such a posting on a social media site?
303 thoughts on “Kansas Professor Under Fire For Anti-NRA Tweet”
In the last few months I spent a great deal of time going through the NFIB decision. I had hoped to find a trenchant explanation, instead I found an enormous amount of logomachy. In particular this member “of the middle rank” was dismayed but the use of premises in the decision that seem to suggest a deep respect for Constitutional integrity, but when the conclusion was reached it seems almost antithetical to the premise offered. For eaxmple of the premises offered is the idea of a limited government… and a conclusion that is almost an antipode to that very premise. I do not want to imply that being filiopietistic is the answer to modern day issues before the Court, but having read the decison, and then re reading it a number of times, I wonder how it came to be, and why others aren’t as concerned as I am regarding the decision. I know this solved a constitutional crisis of sorts, but is there an epicrisis attached ?
Hello, I read your new stuff regularly. Your humoristic style is witty, keep doing what you’re doing!
the prof looks a bit like Magilla Gorilla.
the food stamp program is being abused.
From one of your favorite news sources–Fox News:
Five reasons Americans already love ObamaCare — plus one reason why they’re gonna love it even more, soon
By Sally Kohn
Published September 30, 2013
There’s a reason Republicans have been rushing to try and defund the Affordable Care Act before October 1, when major sections of the law take effect.
Republicans know what polls show — that most Americans don’t know what’s in ObamaCare, but when told what the law actually includes, a strong majority support the law.
Once state health insurance exchanges take effect, and premiums for all Americans go down, Republicans know the law will only become more popular and harder to repeal.
As Republican Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell said, “It’s a lot harder to undo something than it is to stop it in the first place.”
Because just like Republicans railed against Social Security and Medicaid and Medicare when they were first proposed, those programs are now highly effective and broadly popular parts of our social safety net — supported even by strong majorities of Republican voters.
So, for those of you who have been too busy criticizing ObamaCare for partisan reasons to actually look at what’s in the law — and see what Americans like about it — here is a handy-dandy review:
1. ACA allows young Americans to stay on their parents’ insurance plans
Because of ObamaCare, which allows kids to stay on their parents insurance plans until age 26, 3.4 million young Americans now have coverage.
The percentage of uninsured young people (ages 19 to 25) fell accordingly, from 48% in 2010 to 21% in 2012.
According to polling, three-in-four Americans support this part of the Affordable Care Act including, yes, over two-thirds of Republicans.
2. ACA bans insurance companies from denying coverage for pre-existing conditions
Another aspect of ObamaCare that has already taken effect is the ban on insurance companies denying coverage to patients based on pre-existing conditions.
That means an end to insurance company horror stories like four-month-old Alex Lange being denied health insurance because he was too chubby.
This is why the conservative allegation about death panels is so ironic; while the actual ACA law does not contain death panels or anything remotely like them, the fact is that prior to ObamaCare, insurance companies were effectively operating like death panels in denying life-saving coverage to anyone with a pre-existing condition and by applying life-time spending caps on coverage.
The ban on pre-existing condition limits, which will apply to every single American by 2014, is supported by 83% of Americans.
3. ACA offers tax credits to small businesses to buy insurance
The Affordable Care Act expands tax credits to help small businesses provide health insurance to their workers. Companies with fewer than 50 employees do not have to provide insurance, but even for these businesses, ObamaCare will make it easier and cheaper if they choose to do so.
According to polling, 88% of Americans think these small business tax credits are great, including — wait for it … yes, 83% of Republicans. That’s right, over eight-in-ten Republicans support the provision of ObamaCare that helps small businesses afford and expand their health insurance offerings to employees…
Republicans who are throwing temper tantrums over sour grapes need to grow up.
Congress passed the Affordable Care Act, President Obama signed it into law and the Supreme Court upheld its constitutionality.
The cost of doing nothing on health care reform was too great and the cost of repeatedly refighting the political battles of the past is obscene. But then again, it makes perfect sense why Republicans refuse to just give up and shut up — because the minute they do, there will be no more distractions from all the good things about ObamaCare.
that was great.
Alex Jones of Infowars–a well-balanced individual and reliable source of information:
You’re quite adept at playing the “blame game” yourself.
Can you give me some examples of the “garbage” that I have provided links to in my posts and/or comments? I see: The sources I use provide “garbage.” The sources you use provide only the truth.
What are my “propaganda” websites? I have used so many sources over the past few years, I have no way of knowing which sites you’re referring to–or do you think that all the sources that I have used provide only propaganda?
I suppose a preemptive war waged under false pretenses hasn’t cost our government and we the people much money.
There are many places where one can get the statistics that are not biased right wing (or progressive) sites but you are unable to see past your right wing myopia. Everyone and all statistics are wrong but yours. Not easy to have a dialogue when one has a closed mind, or relies only on uber right wing sites to support their “facts”.
The president is not the one trying to defund what is the law of the land, so declared by SCOTUS. The republicans have wasted how much time and waste of the people’s money b their wasting of time on their ridiculous repeated effports to repeal this law. If at first you don’t succeed, try , try again and if you continue to not succeed keep hitting your head against that wall that is the people speaking. You know the definition of crazy…doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different outcome. The republicans don’t want to, or can’t seem to, learn,
(And why is Romneycare okay but ACA is not, both very similar but right never came out against Romneycare. Oh right, It isn’t President Obama.
And oh right, Bush had the worst recession in a long time, some say ever, but hey he’s a republican so he bears no responsibility, I guess.
leejcaroll wrote: “Everyone and all statistics are wrong but yours. Not easy to have a dialogue when one has a closed mind, or relies only on uber right wing sites to support their “facts”.”
I never rely on uber right wing sites. I linked to one such site only to show an image of a receipt showing what someone using food stamps purchased.
The statistics I use are government issued statistics. They are not always accurate, but they are certainly not uber right wing sites. Other people use uber left wing sites like media matters and you don’t say a word.
Even if I do reference right wing sites, what’s the problem? There are always two sides to the dispute. Be open minded enough to hear all sides.
If you have a problem with a statistic, just point it out. I know you won’t do it because I have never used a faulty statistic. As long as you don’t identify the statistic you claim is wrong, you fee free to malign my integrity with impunity.
leejcaroll wrote: “The president is not the one trying to defund what is the law of the land, so declared by SCOTUS.”
SCOTUS declared a portion of the law unconstitutional. Since then, a number of changes have been made to the law by President Obama. The President has been granting waivers to all his cronies, to Congress, and to everyone on his side of the aisle so they don’t have to participate in the ACA. The people in Congress that will not rubber stamp Obama’s agenda is just saying that to be fair, give these kinds of waivers to everyone, not just the President’s favorite picks.
leejcaroll wrote: “The republicans have wasted how much time and waste of the people’s money b their wasting of time on their ridiculous repeated effports to repeal this law.”
Your opinion, but I disagree. I hope they succeed. Obamacare is a bad law that had not one Republican vote. No other huge entitlement reform of the past has been passed in this way, with the support of only one party. The law is BAD, and the SCOTUS decision was almost as bad as Dred Scott in declaring a penalty a tax in order to justify forcing Americans who do not want to buy insurance to buy it. If the democratic process cannot undo the tyranny we are currently suffering under, there will be revolution when about 30% of the country has had enough of this to go to war with the government.
leejcaroll wrote: ” why is Romneycare okay but ACA is not…”
Were you unable to hear Romney answer this question when he ran against Obama? It is because ACA is a federalization of health care, forcing it upon everyone in the country. If a State votes to provide for their own health care in the way they want, under the Constitution they are free to do so. From the perspective of me and millions of other people, the Constitution does not grant the federal government powers to force individuals to buy into their favorite product.
Let me tell you getting on disability is long and arduous for many and it is the exception not the rule that you can game the system since they not only rely on the person’s doc but they have to be vetted by state docs.
I wasn’t snark to you no reason to be snark in your replies. Bush extended the benefits for months. They were already on benefits before the extension. You seem to want to make it that well it was only for a few months before the president. The problem is you refuse to acknowledge anything that does not fit in with our neatly scripted view of the world.
leejcaroll wrote: “Bush extended the benefits for months. They were already on benefits before the extension. You seem to want to make it that well it was only for a few months before the president. The problem is you refuse to acknowledge anything that does not fit in with our neatly scripted view of the world.”
Refuse to acknowledge anything? Apparently, from your perspective, extending the unemployment benefits a few months is the same as extending it a few years. I cannot acknowledge the veracity of that assumption. Sorry. I can acknowledge that it was done.
“because of his obstinance not to allow the Congress to fund the federal government unless they also fund Obamacare.”
DavidM I just checked in to see why I pay little attention to you.
The above statement of Yours is not even convoluted, it is plain old BS.
Freedom of discussion is powerful. I am certain I fumble when expressing myself. There are many here very capable and better armed than I.
I am amused by your statements, and very content to scroll by them when I am in a non-tolerant mood. :o)
DavidM wrote: ““because of his obstinance not to allow the Congress to fund the federal government unless they also fund Obamacare.”
davidbluefish wrote: “The above statement of Yours is not even convoluted, it is plain old BS.”
My statement is the truth.
The fact is that the House passed a CR that funded everything but the ACA and the Senate controlled by the Democratic party sent it back.
Then the Republicans compromised and passed a CR through the House that funded everything in the federal government but delayed the ACA for one year. Again, the Democrats wanted no part of it and sent it back.
The President and the Democrats are responsible for shutting down the federal government. They lie when their political game blames the Republicans for it. These are the facts.
I see you’re providing information from unbiased sources–The Weekly Standard a neocon opinion magazine founded by Bill Kristol and conspiracy theorist Alex Jones’s Infowars.
You haven’t addressed the financial meltdown and recession it caused. They had a great impact on our economy…don’t you think?
Elaine M wrote: “I see you’re providing information from unbiased source…”
I told you, I cannot reference the actual government statistics because when I go there, the page says the federal government is shut down. The sources I use are accurate and based upon the real government studies. You have been trained by your propaganda websites to distrust certain sites, and that is a shame. By the way, I do get very tired of reading the garbage on all the links you provide. Everytime I go to check out their facts, I find out how dishonest they are in representing their position.
Elaine M wrote: “You haven’t addressed the financial meltdown and recession it caused. They had a great impact on our economy…don’t you think?”
Of course they did. People like Barney Frank leading Congress to force lenders to give mortgages to people who could not pay it back wreaked havoc on the economy when all the bad paper was shuffled around and the government bailed them all out.
I am tired of the blame game. Some leader needs to stand up and take responsibility to fix it. Clearly it will not be President Obama. He likes playing the blame game. It’s everybody else’s fault but his. Ted Cruz is looking better and better these days as a real leader.
That’s what happens when non-lawyers read law. Sec. 1104 and 42 USC 1320d-2 does not “give the government access to your bank account” in the way that site implies. It allows for things like direct deposit of remittances for out of pocket expenses covered by the program(s) instead of sending a paper check.
In short, that’s some highly spun bullshit by someone who either doesn’t understand what he’s reading and/or has a vested interest in misrepresenting it as something sinister.
You know I’ve got issues with the ACA.
This? Ain’t one of ’em.
David these were your words, “This happened when Obama got his extended unemployment benefits bill passed in Congress. I never had anything like that happen before Obama came into office.” I merely pointed out that your screed against the president ignores facts from other administrations.
leejcaroll wrote: “I merely pointed out that your screed against the president ignores facts from other administrations.”
No, I am not ignoring any such thing. There is a huge difference between how Republican administrations look at unemployment and how Obama’s administration looks at it. Unemployment was suppose to be something to help a family when someone lost their job. Giving help with their bills for three to four months is reasonable help. Most Republicans agree with this kind of assistance. It gives the person the time he needs to start another job without worrying about his mounting bills. However, when you give someone three years to look for a job, that is crazy. It causes them to become more lazy and less employable. A lot of people actually spend their time looking for ways to work the system. Many work on getting disability, which is a long and difficult process. With three years of unemployment, disability becomes achievable without losing any pay. They take the unemployment while they convince doctors that they are too depressed or that their back hurts too much for them to work.
When I interview someone who has been on unemployment for three years and compare that person to a candidate who is still working another job and will leave that job to come work for me, which candidate do you think is more attractive to me? I cannot convey to you in words the way a person comes across who have been on unemployment for years. They are depressed, they complain, some even admitting that they are not sure how they can get use to start working again… not at all the kind of person I am looking for to join my team. Most people who have been out of work for two or three months, receiving financial assistance during that time, well, they are still optimistic and motivated. Surely you understand this difference?
BTW, what was the “specific message” that President Obama conveyed to the American people?
“It was the message he conveyed about entitlements, and he enacted policies accordingly. People got the message and signed up in droves. Just look at how much assistance increased under his leadership.”
I wonder if the financial meltdown and the consequences of it might have something to do with that. BTW, Obama was not president when the meltdown occurred.
Could you provide information/statistics that back up your claim?
Elaine M wrote: “Could you provide information/statistics that back up your claim?” … “what was the “specific message” that President Obama conveyed to the American people?”
Unfortunately, the Obama administration has taken down some of the government websites because of his obstinance not to allow the Congress to fund the federal government unless they also fund Obamacare. Therefore, I can’t give you some of the detailed information you want.
And let me tell you as a software developer, this is absurd because it takes them more work to put up a page saying the site is down because of lack of funding than to just leave the sites up with access to the information before the funding crisis happened. This is like the closing of the War Memorials in DC that are open malls and require no money to let people walk by them, yet they send out park rangers to put up barriers and stand around to keep people out. I don’t know why Americans can’t see through this kind of childish tantrum Obama engages in.
I can tell you that SNAP increased from just under 32 million in 2009 to over 47 million in 2012. The government said the recession ended in 2009.
From experience I can tell you that when I would place a homeless person in a minimum wage job, bagging groceries or flipping hamburgers, he immediately would not qualify for food stamps. That is no longer the case. And take a look at the receipt image on the site linked to below to see what some people are buying with food stamps … lobster and porterhouse steaks. They eat better than my family.
Obama administration openly pushing food stamps to illegals
And here is a link to a comparison of job growth to food stamp recipient growth.
Food Stamp Growth 75X Greater than Job Creation
David your republican made statistics are, surprise, wrong.
In January of 2009, more than 32 million Americans received help from Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, which doles out food stamps. In April 2013, that number grew to almost 48 million. That means almost 16 million more American have jumped on the food stamp bandwagon since President Obama took office in 2008, Breitbart reported.
Meanwhile, the White House most recently claimed the creation of 7.2 million jobs, Breitbart reported.
Do the math: The ratio of food stamp recipients to job creation under Mr. Obama since 2008 is 2-to-1. [The Washington Times, 7/25/13]
Other article you cite is by Alex Jones, yep, That’s definitely an unbiased real journalistic piece.
leejcaroll wrote: “David your republican made statistics are, surprise, wrong.”
You obviously did not read the article. The statistics are from government sources. You are comparing two different statistics. The one I provided was comparing NET job creation, not gross, which is what your faulty analysis used.
leejcaroll wrote: “Other article you cite is by Alex Jones, yep, That’s definitely an unbiased real journalistic piece.”
I guess you missed why I offered the link. It was only to look at the image of the receipt, not to read the biased journalism.
has anyone heard about this? Is it true:
“H.R. 3590 gives the federal government specific access to individual bank accounts and medical records as provided by that individuals health plan. The government may monitor an individuals finances and medical records electronically, for the purposes of determining an individuals eligibility for certain programs under the bill. They may also monitor an individuals finances and medical records to ascertain whether that individual has health insurance and is making regular premium payments to an approved health insurance plan; this will allow the federal government to determine each individuals financial responsibilities with respect to penalties and fees prior to or at the point of care as outlined in the bill. This clause also gives the government the ability to transfer funds electronically to or from an individuals bank account for the purposes of debiting his/her account for fees and penalties.
The stated purpose of this clause is “to reduce the clerical burden on patients, health care providers, and health plans.”
Quick note for those of you who say “the government already had access to our bank accounts.” That’s true, but it was previously required that they obtain a court order to access any individuals personal finances. This bill provides them free reign to do so whenever they please.”
As I said before, my husband has had a few bad experiences with employees–but they were a very small minority of the people who worked for him. I really can’t say why my husband’s experience was different from yours. Maybe he had a better pool of prospective workers up here in the Northeast to choose from when he was hiring than you do/did. Maybe he paid better wages and attracted a better caliber of people.
davidm wrote: “I meant only to say that many are playing that game, and there are more now playing that game than there were before President Obama came into office.”
Obama is the reason that more people are “playing the game” these days? How did he manage to get more people to “manipulate the system?”
Elaine M wrote: “How did he manage to get more people to “manipulate the system?”
It was the message he conveyed about entitlements, and he enacted policies accordingly. People got the message and signed up in droves. Just look at how much assistance increased under his leadership.
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