Fresno State Will Not Punish Bush-Bashing Professor Randa Jarrar

Fresno State professor Randa Jarrar
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Fresno State announced on Tuesday that they will not discipline Professor Randa Jarrar, who came under fire last week for a series of tweets that celebrated the death of former First Lady Barbara Bush.

A professor at Fresno State named Randa Jarrar came under fire last week for a series of celebratory tweets about the late Barbara Bush. Since then, a petition calling for her termination has garnered over 60,000 signatures.

“Barbara Bush was a generous and smart and amazing racist who, along with her husband, raised a war criminal. F**k outta here with your nice words,” Jarrar tweeted last week. In a separate tweet, Jarrar said that the news made her “happy” because Barbara Bush’s death likely made George W. Bush upset. Perhaps most significantly, Jarrar clogged a mental health crisis hotline when she jokingly tweeted the hotline’s number out to her critics, pretending that it was her personal number.

Although he called her conduct “insensitive and inappropriate,” Fresno State President Joseph Castro announced in a press release Tuesday that Jarrar won’t be disciplined for her controversial tweets.

Immediately following Professor Jarrar’s tweets last Tuesday, we carefully reviewed the facts and consulted with CSU counsel to determine whether we could take disciplinary action. After completing this process, we have concluded that Professor Jarrar did not violate any CSU or university policies and that she was acting in a private capacity and speaking about a public matter on her personal Twitter account. Her comments, although disgraceful, are protected free speech under the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution. Additionally, although Professor Jarrar used tenure to defend her behavior, this private action is an issue of free speech and not related to her job or tenure.

Fresno State may still face a backlash from alumni and donors, a report last week indicated the school was attempting damage control with these influential groups.

As Breitbart News reported, some claim it would have been unconstitutional for Fresno State to punish Jarrar. An analysis from the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE) explained that government employees like Jarrar cannot be disciplined for their speech. FIRE explained that the First Amendment does not have a “disrespectful” exception.

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