A professor has been fired by the University of Tampa for suggesting the people of Texas deserved the devastation of Hurricane Harvey because they voted for Donald Trump.
Kenneth L. Storey taught sociology at the school. You’d figure a sociology professor would be more sensitive in a time like this.
Storey has since deleted his Twitter account, but the tweets he buried himself with were screen-grabbed by Campus Reform.
“I don’t believe in instant Karma but this kinda feels like it for Texas,” Storey wrote. “Hopefully this will help them realize the GOP doesn’t care about them.”
One of Storey’s followers gave him the chance to recant, responding, “Lots of good people in Texas. May want to rethink this one.”
Storey doubled-down instead: “Well, the good people there need to do more to stop the evil their state pushes. I’m only blaming those who support the GOP there.”
The follower then pointed out that Florida, another state susceptible to hurricanes, voted for Trump, too.
“I guess since we’re a Red state we deserve some bad karma too, right,” he asked Storey.
“Yep, those who voted for him here deserve it as well,” Storey replied.
Say what you want about Trump, but to say people deserve to endure a tragedy of this magnitude because they voted Republican? Not cool.
The school announced it was firing Storey on its Facebook page:
“Storey has been relieved of his duties at UT, and his classes will be covered by other sociology faculty.
“The University of Tampa stands in solidarity with the people impacted by Hurricane Harvey, and our thoughts and prayers are with all involved. The comments made by Kenneth Storey were made via his private social media account. They were not made within his capacity as a faculty member, and they don’t represent the University’s views. The University of Tampa condemns these comments and the sentiment behind them.”
Storey apologized, but the damage had already been done.
The comments were particularly hurtful to students who are from Houston, like Neisha Gamble, who as of Tuesday was still trying to get in touch with her family
“We’re from the part where it flooded really bad,” Gamble told the Tampa Bay Times. “That was really ignorant of him to say. Yes, he has free speech, but there are some things you should just keep to yourself.”
But the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education, a group that advocates for academic freedom, wants to make sure Storey’s firing was justified.
“Many universities seem to decide, ‘Well, it’s not worth the trouble of sticking up for our faculty members’ rights,’ and that’s troubling,” said Ari Cohn, an attorney with the organization. “The University of Tampa’s own policies say faculty members retain their rights to speak as private citizens, which is exactly what Ken Storey seems to have done.”
We wonder if this group would have even batted an eye had a conservative professor (there are a few out there, we’re pretty sure), said something similar about a Blue state.
As it stands now, Storey is out of a job. Karma’s a bitch.