Drexel professor put on leave after Las Vegas shooting, white supremacy tweets

People run from the Route 91 Harvest country music festival after shots were fired on Oct. 1 in Las Vegas.
People run from the Route 91 Harvest country music festival after shots were fired on Oct. 1 in Las Vegas.

Credit: David Becker

Credit: David Becker

A Drexel University professor whose tweets suggested a link between white supremacy and the shooting massacre at a Las Vegas country music festival has been put on leave.

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Associate professor George Ciccariello-Maher wrote in an op-ed piece published Tuesday by The Washington Post that the Philadelphia university placed him on leave following a series of tweets about the shooting prompted death threats.

Last week, the political science and global studies professor posted a tweet reading, "It's the white supremacist patriarchy, stupid." That tweet was followed by a series of similar statements. The professor wrote in the op-ed that threats came in after conservative media outlets highlighted his tweets.

Ciccariello-Maher wrote that the shooting was "a morbid symptom of what happens when those who believe they deserve to own the world also think it is being stolen from them," The Washington Times reported. "It is the spinal column of Trumpism, and most extreme form is the white genocide myth. The narrative of white victimization has been gradually built over the past 40 years. White people and men are told that they are entitled to everything. This is what happens when they don't get what they want."

Drexel said the decision was necessary to ensure campus safety.

The professor has not responded to an emailed request for additional comment.

In his op-ed piece, Ciccariello-Maher wrote that “By bowing to pressure from racist internet trolls, Drexel has sent the wrong signal: That you can control a university’s curriculum with anonymous threats of violence.

“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.”