Fresno State professor's offensive comments will not get her fired

Photos of Randa Jarrar's tweets. (Photo: Twitter)

(KMPH) UPDATE: April 24, 2018 - Fresno State has announced it will not fire Professor Randa Jarrar after she tweeted a series of tweets stating her opinions on the Bush family following the news of Barbara Bush's death.


A Fresno State professor has sparked controversy on social media after calling Barbara Bush an "amazing racist" in a tweet.

Randa Jarrar, a professor in the Department of English at Fresno State, tweeted a series of tweets Tuesday night stating her opinions on the Bush family following the news of Barbara Bush's death.

"Barbara Bush was a generous and smart and amazing racist who, along with her husband, raised a war criminal. F*** outta here with your nice words," -@randajarrar tweeted.

Please be advised of the usage of profanity in the tweets below.

Fresno State President Joseph I. Castro made a statement regarding Jarrar's tweets:

On behalf of Fresno State, I extend my deepest condolences to the Bush family on the loss of our former First Lady, Barbara Bush.
We share the deep concerns expressed by others over the personal comments made today by Professor Randa Jarrar, a professor in the English Department at Fresno State. Her statements were made as a private citizen, not as a representative of Fresno State.
Professor Jarrar's expressed personal views and commentary are obviously contrary to the core values of our University, which include respect and empathy for individuals with divergent points of view, and a sincere commitment to mutual understanding and progress."

Jarrar has since changed the privacy settings on her twitter account and has stated she is on leave from Fresno State.

In a news conference Wednesday, University Provost Lynnette Zelezny said a review is under way over Jarrar's comments.

"We do encourage that all voices do matter, but we are a community where we respect diverse opinions and diverse thoughts," Zelezny said, who added that Jarrar had been an Associate Professor teaching creative writing at Fresno State since August of 2010.

In the series of tweets, Jarrar mentioned that she works as a tenured professor and that she "will never be fired".

Zelezny addressed that tweet.

“The technical question you’re me asking is 'Does tenure mean technically you cannot be fired?' The answer to that is no," Fresno State Provost Lynnette Zelezny said during the press conference on Wednesday.

Zelezny says Jarrar had been on a leave of absence for the semester due to personal reasons.

Associated Students, Inc. Prsident and CEO Blake Zante released the following statement regarding the professor's tweets:

The Fresno State GOP also responded on Twitter with the following, which was retweeted by President Castro.

The professor was schedule to speak at an event at Fresno City College Saturday, but has since informed the organizers that she will not be participating.

Fresno City College and the LitHop 2018 organizers wish to send condolences to the Bush family as we join the rest of our country in mourning the loss of our former First Lady, Barbara Bush.
The headline speaker for LitHop 2018, Randa Jarrar, has informed the LitHop organizers that she will not be a participant in this weekend’s events, which included her appearance at Fresno City College Saturday evening. Fresno City College and LitHop 2018 support her decision to withdraw.
While we respect the right to free speech, even objectionable speech, Jarrar’s statements are her own and do not reflect the values of LitHop or Fresno City College. We acknowledge the severity of her statements and take very seriously the concerns expressed throughout the community. The safety of each individual, including Jarrar’s, and all members of the LitHop and Fresno City College community is our paramount concern. We do not support violence or threats on social media or elsewhere; rather, we value civil discourse and look forward to the necessary healing ahead.

In her tweets, Jarrar gave a phone number, saying it was hers.

Instead, that number is for Arizona State University's Dedicated Crisis line, which is a mental health hotline.

ASU released the following statement to FOX26 News:

The calls continued all day Wednesday. As of Wednesday afternoon the phone calls are coming in at a rate of 50 and 70 an hour. Normal for the line is fewer than five per week. ASU does not believe anyone who needed to get through on the line was unable to.

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