Texas A&M Professor Under Investigation For Anti-Trump and Anti-Republican Postings

download-1Texas A&M anthropology professor Filipe Castro has triggered a firestorm of controversy after postings calling President Donald Trump a “fat klansman” and saying that is a “good thing” that Rep. Louie Gohmert (R-Texas) contracted Covit-19. The Texas A&M Board of Regents issued a statement condemning the statements which is fine.  However, there is also an investigation that raises free speech concerns over a faculty member being able to express political views — even highly offensive views — outside of his teaching responsibilities or role.

The site Campus Reform raised the social media postings and reported that Dean of the College of Liberal Arts Pamela R. Matthews confirmed that the university is “looking into” the matter. It also reported that “a separate but unconfirmed email” said that the Texas A&M Office of Risk, Ethics, and Compliance has opened an investigation into Castro.

Castro posted the comments on Facebook including:

•“We have a moron as president and everyday [sic] he paints the walls of the Oval Office with his own shit, and the republicans- including Lying Ted [Cruz] and [John] Corny Cornyn- clean the walls and the carpet, wipe the drool of [sic] his mouth, and pretend that he is normal.”

• Denouncing White House advisor Stephen Miller, former Attorney General Jeff Sessions, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, and Texas Lt. Governor Dan Patrick, and calling to “lock them in some institution where we don’t have to be confronted with their vulgarity and their stupidity.”

•Stating with reference to Tesla founder Elon Musk, Castro said “we must build that guillotine” for Tesla founder Elon Musk, who he also called a “parasite” and said “we will come for you, Elon, with a spray for pubic lice.”

•Described Melania Trump as “bought from a catalog.”

•Called President Trump a “fat klansman.”

•Called Trump officials collectively “savages and misfits all physically deformed and resentful of their deformities.”

•Stated “Covid kills the poor. It also kills some stupid, like Herman Cain, but mostly kills the poor.”

•“I always though [sic] that this was going to have a normal end, with trump having a heart attack on top of his daughter and crushing her with his fat, and Kushner having to try to resuscitate her (for the money) from drawing in trump’s vomit of Pepsi and half-chewed chicken nuggets, swallowed in big chucks…”

•He celebrated Gohmert getting Covit-19 as “good news.”
These (and a string of anti-religion postings) have been detailed by critics.
These are highly disturbing and hateful postings.  I admit that some, like the crushing of Trump’s daughter, seem deranged. At best, most of the postings are viral, hateful expressions of Castro’s political and religious beliefs.
As will surprise no one on this blog, I tend to resolve such questions in favor of free speech. Castro’s comments are disgraceful and disgusting. However, if schools are going to regulate such political comments, it is hard to see how and where the line would be drawn.  The subjectivity or bias in such investigations remains a concern in past controversies.  The lack of clarity on the standard would result in a chilling effect on faculty and students being able to express their views on political or social issues.  The question should be whether such disturbing views were expressed in his classes or as part of his work on campus. Otherwise, I still view the comments as protected speech.
Free speech often requires support for those with not just unpopular but obnoxious views. Professor Castro is the price we pay for free speech. The alternative is to regulate political speech by faculty and students outside of a university — a prospect that is far more costly than the ravings of an academic.

48 thoughts on “Texas A&M Professor Under Investigation For Anti-Trump and Anti-Republican Postings”

  1. For me it depends on what is being investigated. Are they investigating his speech, or his actions at the university?

    Despite how disgusting Castro’s speech is, that alone shouldn’t get him fired. At the same time, it’s difficult to imagine that this man as anything other than some petty tyrant in his classroom, who likely discriminates against conservative (and even less liberal) students, and chills any sort of viewpoint diversity.

    An investigation into this man’s disgusting social media postings isn’t warranted. But an investigation into his interactions with students given the red flags such postings raise, absolutely is.

    1. His conduct in a public place has already brought Texas A&M into disrepute — which will only worsen if he continues to be a member of the faculty. Tenure or not, an employee in an “at will” state who engages in such horrid misconduct asks to be terminated. Indeed, “begs” to be terminated … just like suicide by cop.

  2. Before social media, you couldn’t publish trashy, ad-hominem invective because there was an editor there to filter it out. They served honorably as guardians of civility — of course, there were thousands of low-circulation rags that were exceptions.

    Now, institutions are trying to figure out how best to recover standards of civility in an era of ad-hominem infowarfare. The media won’t tell you this because it undercuts drama, but fully 40% of Americans are strongly committed to standards of civility, meritocratic argument, and measures that defend those norms applied neutrally.

    This is still the plurality of society, when you consider that that the 60% who revel in partisanship expressed via personal insult and false narrative are split 30-30 between two warring tribes.

    I applaud Texas A&M for taking the matter of civility seriously, and doing what they can to promote it amongst the faculty.

  3. I hope for Castro’s sake that he was absolutely hammered when he wrote that.

    Otherwise, he’s headed for the funny farm.

  4. So far he’s pushing four years of military experience compared to zero for bide a ween, 100% success rate, and got you socialist regressives crying watching your side get punched out time after time. Difference between a constitutionalist and Pelosite Schumerian.

  5. Your are free to say what you want, within limitations like yelling fire. Private institutions and business, including universities are free to have “behavior” rules that govern actions that reflect on those institutions. I suspect this university has morality clauses requiring professors to adhere to professional codes of conduct and to not bring negative attention to the university through the use of abusive language, either within the university or outside the university.

    I also suggest that political demographics will play a role in any decision since 68% identify as conservative or very conservative while only 4% identify as liberal and 12% moderate. The rest are not sure. Those on the right defend freedom of speech as long as it is accurate. This professors speech does not meet that criteria in many respects

  6. I agree that curtailing some free speech – even hate speech – is a slippery slope. In the cast of Castro, if I were in administration at the school, I would be more concerned about his mental fitness. The vitriol in his rhetoric indicates signs of serious mental illness. I would not want my child exposed to that, for it may gradually take on a broader range of behaviours that might be dangerous.

    1. The vitriol in his rhetoric indicates signs of serious mental illness.

      No, it indicates he’s a spoiled brat. They’re a common type among the faculty.

      1. Absurd– Probably true that he is a spoiled brat but it is easier to get rid of him if he is seen as a nut, therefore, he is a nut.

        I wonder if the university would be equally tolerant of a professor who wanted a return of slavery with black field hands? Free speech can get you fired.

  7. Good morning. You might be correct Jonathan. Based on the comments made/reported, I wonder how he ever got a job in academia, not because of the obvious vital, but because he doesn’t seem to demonstrate the skills appropriate for teaching.

  8. Free speech? Gimme a break. That means that “freedom to speak opinions” would be applied EQUALLY to ALL viewpoints. Which we all know doesn’t happen into today’s liberally biased media. If those same comments had been made about liberal leaning politicians or an minority president, representative, or senator, that professor would have crucified in the MSM and probably already fired.

  9. There is no such thing as absolute free speech. Yes, a professor’s personal opinions should not factor into assessing his or her credibility as a teacher. However, just as absolutes do not exist-yelling fire in a crowded theatre-judgement calls must be available in extreme circumstances. An appropriate judgement call here would be that the professor is unhinged enough to be obligated to take an unpaid vacation. Most of Turley’s examples of free speech infringed by political opinion are far more relevant than this one. This dude needs a vacation.

  10. Another indication, in case you needed one, that vulgarity is tolerated on faculties.

    Here’s a suggestion for the Texas legislature: a statutory requirement that ‘anthropology’ as taught at state schools consist of archaeology, physical anthropology, linguistics, primate studies, and participant-observation of primitive societies. Define ‘primitive’ as being found in rural areas and among aboriginal populations in Patagonia, Amazonia,Tropical Africa, the Himalyas, Central Asia, Siberia, the Philippines, Burma, Laos, the Antipodes, and the North American Arctic. No more talking to hospital patients in Scarsdale and calling it ‘anthropology’. Also, no 4-year school with an undergraduate enrollment below 8,000 FTE is permitted to have an anthropology department unless it’s a designated honors college. Extant anthropology departments at smaller schools are consolidated with those at larger ones and no person who has not prior to date x composed a dissertation or published a peer-reviewed paper on the named subjects is retained.

    Here’s another suggestion: legislation to define ‘sociology’ as the discipline which incorporates the study of society making use of statistical data and analysis. Anyone who hasn’t published a paper or written a dissertation incorporating this is ruled to be a faculty parasite and discharged.

  11. There is more than one way of reacting to bad yet not illegal comments by freespeakers. Coercion by punishment may be out of order, but in the case of academics, using more than mere performance in one’s specialty for future hiring considerations could be a help. For example, we shouldn’t require high school students to do volunteer work ( which is an oxymoron anyway). But volunteering and community service is frequently a factor of selection in admissions to university. Perhaps not just social virtues (sometimes called social capital) like the ability to work with and be respectful of others, but also social vices ( like extreme disrespect for those with whom we disagree) can be taken into consideration in future hirings.

    1. RD:
      How about a little shaming by the feckless other faculty who understand Filipe is a prig of a man with a mouth so vile even a pig sty wouldn’t keep him around?

      1. It doesn’t occur to RD that faculty are deeply other-directed people who practice shunning. Just read the public commentary of Tyler Cowen if you want to see what a capon looks like. He’s been working in that matrix for 30 years.

    2. The problem is sociology and anthropology faculties. They’re a great collecting pool of vulgar people who have no business teaching and engage in no serious work. Another collecting pool would be the victimology faculties. Another would be the occupational faculties devoted to teacher-training, social work, and library administration. Another would be the American history faculty.

      1. TIA:
        They were weird even during my time in college in the 70s. We just passed it off to all that pot they did in their offices with the towel folded at the bottom of their doors.

      2. Free speech is one thing but as a member of the faculty he does (to some extent) represent Texas A&M. I must assume the the college might not appreciate the type of low-class, vulgar, offensive drivel espoused by Mr. Castro. By all means have your political opinion but do try to sound somewhat intelligent and educated. Mr. Castro failed on all accounts.

  12. Filipe is a crude little man (or whatever) whose own words disqualify him from educating anyone until he educates himself. Don’t know why we have to suffer bores in the name of free speech. He can spew his venom without taxpayer subsidy.

    1. Oh and on a positive note a free citizen shot a looter in Kenosha, Wisconsin last night striking the criminal in the head. Seems backbones are breaking out all over recently in the absence of Dim restrained cops. A welcome sign of things to come.

      1. Noodling around with some descriptive statistics on Kenosha County, I’m guessing the ‘hood in Kenosha has a population of about 6,000, of whom perhaps 1,000 would be inclined toward vandalism, arson, and looting. Shoot 30 of them and maybe the other 970 have the sense to go home.

        1. TIA:

          The rule of thumb the military use is 10% casualties to dissuade an invading force. So using your figures I’d say causalities of a 100 might do the trick.

          1. Depends on which ten percent. if it’s the French decimate ten percent it might persuade the force being invaded. Combatcapable is 70% but does not include REMFs. If it’s Antifadahdee and Bloated Liberal Mush thee phrases kill a commie for mommie come to mind and Axe the dahdees just like their founder.

        2. There are many communities along that stretch of Lake Michigan the two largest are Kenosha and Racine which are side by side. There are close to 200,000 people in that area. They each have a black community. Racine is about 22.6% black They are also are about 35 miles from the black communities of Milwaukee. We live in Illinois but we spend many a Saturday in Kenosha and that area. Lunch,shopping, art fairs, and events and walking the beach. It makes me so sad to see the pictures of the damage and destruction there.

          1. “There are close to 200,000 people in that area. They each have a black community. Racine is about 22.6% black They are also are about 35 miles from the black communities of Milwaukee.”
            ***************************
            The rioters are typically an assortment of opportunistic looters, white neo-communists and black activists. I would guess the commitment to the “cause” ranges from very to hardly. As is usually the case, most black Americans don’t condone this stuff but are afraid to say so in the face of reprisal. That’s why shooting the scum is essential — whether by police or the citizenry.

  13. There are two problems with your conclusion. First, it works only one way. The left-wing lunatics are allowed (encouraged?) to spew their invective while every uttering of a conservative (and they are so few they are easy to to track) is labeled “hate speech”. Second, the audience (the campus population) agrees with the left wing lunatic. Line-drawing is what we all do every day. It is not that hard.

    1. Wise:
      In his circle, it takes no courage to defame Trump. Filipe is no martyr. He’s the fool preaching to the other fools of the same persuasion. Protecting his speech is like guaranteeing the safety of Obama at a BLM rally.

    2. Texas is an at-will state and employers can fire people without a particular reason. This man has a right to spew whatever he wants on his personal page BUT his sphere of influence spills over into the paid education arena and thus requires action from the university. Plenty of Texas entities have fired individuals for misrepresenting their values on the employees personal social media pages. This is no different.

      1. Sandee:

        He’s in the hoary and whorey class of individuals employed by the state and a college so he’s extra-special legally such that the common sense rule won’t apply.

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