Free Speech Left for Space as Professor Fired Over a Political Joke


This post was last updated on January 14th, 2020 at 12:41 pm

For a universal fact, when two fight, only one wins. In a conflict with freedom of speech, nationalism won in the United States, when an adjunct professor was fired from a Massachusetts college over a Facebook post, where he sarcastically suggested Iran to pick sites in the US to bomb.

The Babson College professor, Asheen Phansey described the post on his personal Facebook page a joke, in which he wrote that the Iranian supreme leader should “tweet a list of 52 sites of beloved American cultural heritage that he would bomb”. A spokeswoman for him, Judy Rakowsky stated that he suggested the Mall of America in Minnesota and a Kardashian residence as targets.

Phansey’s post came in response to President Donald Trump’s threat to target Iranian cultural sites, warning it of a retaliation against America for killing their General Qassem Soleimani. However, the idea was ward off by the Pentagon because of “the laws of armed conflict”.

The Babson professor deleted the post later, but after it was captured in a screenshot and spread across the social media with the college’s contact details tagged along.

One most shared tweet stated, “Why does @Babson ‘College’ have an America-hating terrorist supporter on their payroll. Ask them!”

The remarks were soon learned by the college, which later suspended Phansey. “Based on the results of the investigation, the staff member is no longer a Babson College employee,” the school said.

In a statement issued, the college said it condemned “any type of threatening words” and “actions condoning violence.”

“This particular post from a staff member on his personal Facebook page clearly does not represent the values and culture of Babson College,” it added.

Professor Phansey stated that he regretted his “bad attempt at humor”.

“As an American, born and raised, I was trying to juxtapose our ‘cultural sites’ with ancient Iranian churches and mosques,” he said, adding that he was opposed to violence. “I am sorry that my sloppy humor was read as a threat.”

Asheen Phansey expressed his disappointment over the college’s decision to fire him “just because people willfully misinterpreted a joke I made to friends on Facebook”. The professor received his master’s degree in business administration in 2008 from the same college, which is a private business school in Wellesley, Massachusetts.

Phansey said he expected that his college “would have defended and supported my right to free speech”. He continued, “Beyond my own situation, I am really concerned about what this portends for our ability as Americans to engage in political discourse without presuming the worst about each other.”

It does appear to a terrible decision sending a critical message to academics and staff members across the US, of misinterpreting a joke and curbing free speech.


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