Michigan professor yanked after saying GOP ‘raped this country’
A Michigan State University professor has lost his teaching duties after telling his students in a video lecture that Republicans “raped this country,” among other derogatory remarks.
William Penn -- a professor in the university’s creative writing program -- was featured in a YouTube video (see above) in which he told students “if you go to the Republican convention in Florida, you see all of the old Republicans with the dead skin cells washing off them.”
“They are cheap. They don’t want to pay taxes because they have already raped this country and gotten everything out of it they possibly could,” Penn continued. “They don’t want to pay for your tuition because who are you? Well to me, you are somebody.”
Penn, who has won a distinguished faculty award, added, “I’m a college professor. If I find out you’re a closet racist, I’m coming after you. OK. This country still is full of closet racists.”
In the video, uploaded by a conservative collegiate news outlet called Campus Reform, Penn then describes Republicans as “dead white people, or dying white people,” and then disparages former GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney and his wife, Ann.
“I absolutely don’t mean to offend you,” Penn said. “Even if you are a Republican, I don’t mean to offend you in this class.”
On Thursday -- two days after the video’s publication and a review by the campus provost -- Michigan State University officials announced that Penn’s “teaching duties have been reassigned to others.”
“Michigan State University is committed to creating a learning environment that is characterized by mutual respect and civility where diverse ideas can be explored,” university spokesman Kent Cassella said in a statement.
Cassella added that, in a meeting with university officials, Penn “acknowledged that some of his comments were inappropriate, disrespectful and offensive and may have negatively affected the learning environment.”
Penn didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment. A spokesman told the Los Angeles Times that he had not been otherwise suspended or fired.
According to his academic bio, Penn writes under the name “W.S. Penn” and has published seven books of fiction and essays.
Must-read stories from the L.A. Times
Get all the day's most vital news with our Today's Headlines newsletter, sent every weekday morning.
You may occasionally receive promotional content from the Los Angeles Times.