A film professor at a Michigan university has been suspended after making a Facebook post that justified murder, according to the campus president.
The professor, who was not named in a statement by Wayne State University President M. Roy Wilson, was suspended with pay as authorities investigate the post.
The post by Steven Shaviro has been deleted but was saved and shared across Facebook. Shaviro, who teaches introduction to film at the Detroit university, made the murder justification in a post about free speech on campus.
“Although I do not advocate violating federal and state criminal codes, I think it is far more admirable to kill a racist, homophobic or transphobic speaker than it is to shout them down,” the professor said in his post.
He went on to say that when the speakers are “shouted down” at, it strengthens the argument of the “bigots.” The speakers are invited to the campus, Shaviro said, to provoke incidents and attract publicity.
“The protesters get blamed instead of the bigoted speaker; the university administration finds a perfect excuse to side publicly with the racists or phobes,” Shaviro said. “The national and international press has a field day saying that bigots are the ones being oppressed, rather than the people those bigots actually hate being the victims of oppression.”
Wilson said he was made aware about the social media post Monday, March 27.
The incident has been referred to law enforcement, according to the university president.
“We have on many occasions defended the right of free speech guaranteed by the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, but we feel this post far exceeds the bounds of reasonable or protected speech,” Wilson said. “It is, at best, morally reprehensible and, at worst, criminal.”
Shaviro earned his doctorate degree from Yale University in 1981 and taught for 20 years at University of Washington. He has been a professor at Wayne State University since 2004.
Wayne State University, based in Detroit, has “nearly 24,000” students and 13 schools and colleges, according to the university website.