MSU Professor Reassigned After Rant Video Goes Viral

By: Anthony Sabella Email
By: Anthony Sabella Email

"I will say this much. I love this university and I always liked my students, period."

That's all MSU Professor William Penn could say, exactly one week after going on a rant about Republicans in front of his class.

"They're cheap. They don't want to pay taxes because they've already raped this country and gotten everything out of it they possible could," he said in a video.

It was the first the class, called "Identity: Literature, Comedy, Perception" had met. A video, taken by a student, shows Penn addressing students, calling out Mitt Romney and accusing Republicans of voter suppression.

"It's about getting black people not to vote. Why? Because black people tend to vote democratic," he said in the video. "Why would Republicans want to do it? Because Republicans are not a majority."

Thursday, just one day after the video went viral, Penn's students had no idea what to expect as they entered the classroom. An e-mail from Dean Karin Wurst of the College of Arts and Letters told them all they would need to know. Penn had been reassigned out of the class.

Students' reactions were mixed.

"It kind of was a hostile learning environment," said Alex VanCamp.

Hunter Walton disagreed.

"He challenged students to debate their views and he wanted them to stand up for what they believed in," she said.

The Michigan State College Republicans say Penn's statements were offensive and that's why they stand by his reassignment.

"There is such thing as Freedom of Speech, but there were some lines stepped over and it's just about respect," said Chair, Will Staal.

A statement from the university, confirms Penn will not be teaching IAH 207 this semester, but says the schedule will stay the same for students.

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