In January, we discussed the case of Ferris State Professor Barry Mehler, who was suspended after Mehler went full Howard Beale in a video in which he called his students “vectors of disease” and tells them to “stay the f**k away from me.” Mehler is known for his outlandish lectures, which appear to have been popular with students. He has now reached a settlement under which he will retire but will receive $95,000. There is a notable catch, however.
In the 14-minute video (watched by half a million people), Mehler called students “vectors of disease” and said “You people are just vectors of disease to me and I don’t want to be anywhere near you, so keep your f–king distance.” He added that he is beholden to “no human c–ksucker” and has a “paying f–king union job.”
Mehler may set a record for the purely profane in his diatribe:
“I may have f***ed up my life flatter than hammered s***, but I stand before you today beholding to no human c*ksucker,” Mehler says. “I’m working in a paid f***ing union job and no limber-d*ck c*ksucker of an administrator is going to tell me how to teach my classes. Because I’m a f****** tenured professor. So, if you want to go complain to your dean, f*** you, go ahead. I’m retiring at the end of this year and I couldn’t give a flying f*** any longer.”
At the time of the controversial video and suspension, I wrote “while many have declared Mehler completely insane, his video may be as clever as a covid-phobic fox.” The reason is that Mehler, 75, was roughly a year from retirement and said that he did not want to teach in person.
With the suspension, I noted that he could get a settlement and “that process could likely take the year and Mehler would simply retire. In the meantime, he and his space helmet can stay at home.”
That is what appears to have happened. He will receive roughly $100,000 and will now retire without having to teach his class (and receiving a year of paid leave).
For those hoping to see another appearance on YouTube of the helmeted Mehler, there is one wrinkle. He agreed to a non-disparagement or gag order clause where, if he criticizes Ferris State University, he will be forced to pay $60,000. It will last three years. While such clauses are common in employment and other fields. It is a bit more problematic here.
Mehler sued over the loss of first amendment rights but has now agreed to suspend his right to speak against the university for three years to secure such a settlement.
For those who regret waiting three years for a Mehler original, here is the video that started this controversy: