Ferris State University in Michigan has placed Professor Barry Mehler on leave, after the founder and director of the Institute for the Study of Academic Racism posted a profanity-laced video as introduction to a course.
“I was shocked and appalled by this video,” FSU President David Eisler told local news site Capitol Confidential on Thursday. “It is profane, offensive and disturbing and in no way reflects our university or its values.”
Mehler, 74, posted a 14-minute video on his YouTube channel on Sunday, wearing a N95 respirator and a $300 helmet before sharing a vintage video promoting cigarettes. He then launched into a profanity-filled tirade.
“I work in a paid f***ing union job and no limber-dick c***sucker of an administrator is going to tell me how to teach my classes. Because I’m a f***ing tenured professor,” he said. “So if you want to go to complain to your dean, f*** you, go ahead, I’m retiring at the end of this year and I couldn’t give a flying f*** any longer. You people are just vectors of disease to me and I don’t want to be anywhere near you. So keep your f***ing distance.”
After that, however, he added that this was an example of plagiarism, pointing out that some of his tirade was adapted from the TV show ‘Deadwood.’ If anyone in his class is caught plagiarizing they will be expelled, Mehler said, which is why he urges his students to not get caught.
Mahler further argued that his grading system is based on the “Calvinist doctrine of predestination” that founders of American colonies believed in, so grades are assigned randomly on the first day of class and no one has any control of them, no matter how hard they work or not.
“I figure if it was good enough for Calvin, it was good enough for me,” he says in the video. “Take your complaints to God. He ordained this system, not me.”
Mehler also urged his students not to show up for class in person, since he was 74 and at high risk of Covid-19.
“You people are vectors of disease to me,” he said. “If you won’t expose your grandpa to a possible infection with Covid, then stay the f*** away from me. If you don’t give a s*** whether grandpa lives or dies, by all means come to class.”
His classes are all designed to be taught remotely, he explained, and there is “no benefit whatsoever” from attending in person. “I will not take questions in class because I’m wearing this f***ing helmet in order to stay alive,” Mehler added.
According to multiple former students who commented on the news on Reddit, the video is par for the course for the eccentric professor, who teaches the “history of science and the interface between science and racism,” per his LinkedIn profile.
Ferris is a public university in central Michigan. It was founded in 1884, and has around 14,000 students both on the Big Rapids campus and online.
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