'Insurgent prof' on hot seat for encouraging incivility

Friday, October 19, 2018
 | 
Chris Woodward (OneNewsNow.com)

Ole Miss (Univ. of Mississippi) 620x300An Ole Miss professor continues to make headlines for saying senators "don't deserve your civility."

James Thomas is assistant professor of sociology at the University of Mississippi, the formal name for Ole Miss. On October 6, 2018, after retweeting a post by MSNBC personality Joe Scarborough urging people not to yell at senators, shout at people in restaurants, and rage on about past votes, James Thomas recommended the exact opposite:

"Don't just interrupt a Senator's meal, y'all. Put your whole [expletive] fingers in their salads. Take their apps and distribute them to the other diners. Bring boxes and take their food home with you on the way out. They don't deserve your civility."

OneNewsNow sought comment from Professor Thomas. He did not respond, and his Twitter account (Insurgent_Prof) is now private. The University of Mississippi did not respond to OneNewsNow's request for comment either, although Chancellor Jeffrey Vitter has condemned the post via Facebook:

"A recent social media post by a UM faculty member did not reflect the values articulated by the university, such as respect for the dignity of each individual and civility and fairness. While I passionately support free speech, I condemn statements that encourage acts of aggression. I urge all members of the Ole Miss community to demonstrate civility and respect for others and to honor the ideal of diversity of thought that is a foundational element of the academy."

When asked about this by The Daily Mississippian, the student newspaper at Ole Miss, Thomas said he guessed Vitter's post was directed at him.

"You'd need to ask [Vitter] since he wrote it," said Thomas. "I support the Chancellor's right to free speech and to express himself through his social media. The free exchange of ideas is a hallmark of higher education."

While that may be the case, the issue has gotten the attention of news outlets including Fox News and Campus Reform, where student reporter Adam Sabes says the professor has the right to say or tweet whatever he wants. "I think that, in this case, the professor knew that what he was tweeting would be controversial," he writes.

Sabes adds this type of thing has occurred at other colleges and universities. He points to Georgetown Professor Christine Fair and her tweet that white Republican senators in the Brett Kavanaugh hearing deserve to die.

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