On Sunday, Aug. 27, visiting assistant professor of sociology Kenneth Storey made comments on a private Twitter account that do not reflect UT’s community views or values. We condemn the comments and the sentiment behind them, and understand the pain this irresponsible act has caused.
Storey has been relieved of his duties at UT, and his classes will be covered by other sociology faculty.
As Floridians, we are well aware of the destruction and suffering associated with tropical weather. Our thoughts and prayers are with all impacted by Hurricane Harvey.
Of course, as a private institution, the University of Tampa is not subject to the protections of the first amendment, which bar governmental abridgment of free speech. However, that does not relieve the university of its responsibility to maintain the free speech rights and academic freedom of its faculty. The university does not explain when it will punish faculty for public comments or social media statements. This uncertainly creates an obvious chilling effect for faculty members who will not want to risk retaliation for controversial statements. The result will be the curtailment of free speech for academics who will not want to risk their positions. I believe the university was wrong in taking this action rather than simply conveying its deep condemnation for the posting.
What do you think?