BIG RAPIDS, Mich. – A judge declined Monday to reinstate a Michigan professor who was suspended with pay in January for making a profanity-filled video to welcome students to a new term.
Barry Mehler said his free speech rights were violated when he was barred from teaching history at Ferris State University while the school investigates his actions.
But U.S. District Judge Jane Beckering turned down a request for a preliminary injunction, according to the online case file.
Mehler has said his 14-minute video was simply a performance to get his students' “juices flowing.” He used profanities and made a sexual reference as he rambled on about his attendance policy, grades, plagiarism and COVID-19.
Mehler has a “well-known and celebrated provocative style,” attorney Matthew Hoffer said in a court filing.
But Ferris State said the video couldn't be ignored.
“A college professor has no right to call his students and administrators sexually harassing, discriminatory or profane terms to excite them about his class. It is simply wrong!” said Robert Vercruysse, an attorney for the school.
Ferris State is in Big Rapids, 155 miles (250 kilometers) northwest of Detroit.