Wayne State University professor suspended over controversial social media post

Professor was suspended with pay

DETROIT – Local 4 has seen demonstrations on college campuses nationwide over controversial guest speakers. Well, a professor at Wayne State is accused of suggesting that it is ok to silence those speakers with violence.

Wayne State University professor in the English Department is accused of making a social media post justifying killing someone who disagrees with you.

Wayne State President M. Roy Wilson says he was made aware of the post Monday (March 27) morning.

“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,” said Wilson in an email to the campus community. “It is, at best, morally reprehensible and, at worst, criminal.”

WSU says it has contacted law enforcement agencies, and while it’s under review, Wilson said the professor had been suspended with pay.

Students walking across campus Monday were upset by the professor’s comments.

“Why would someone post something like that,” said Iyana Coates.

“I think it is very shocking,” said Kaylee McSwain. “And it is really crazy. I was really surprised when I heard that a professor would feel comfortable saying something like that.”

Some students said they would be reluctant to take a class with a professor who would advocate violence against people of different beliefs or perspectives.

“It is definitely a course and a professor I would ever take,” Elyse Miller.

McSwain said free speech is very important on college campuses, but so is respecting others.

“You need to always remember to be respectful with your thoughts,” McSwain said. “And If you know your thoughts are kind of a little crazy and out there, you shouldn’t feel comfortable saying them.”

Wayne State has not named the professor who made the post. We reached out to them for more details, and university officials said no further information would be released at this time.

About the Authors:

Will Jones rejoined the Local 4 News team in February 2023 as a weekend anchor and reporter. He previously worked as a general assignment reporter for the station from 2012 to 2015.

Brandon Carr is a digital content producer for ClickOnDetroit and has been with WDIV Local 4 since November 2021. Brandon is the 2015 Solomon Kinloch Humanitarian award recipient for Community Service.