After being secretly recorded by a student on the first day of class at Michigan State University, award-winning creative writing professor William Penn, Nez Perce/Osage, has found himself in trouble with mainstream media and possibly the university.
Every news source that reported on the story dubbed the video Penn’s “first-day anti-Republican rant.”
And yes, Penn did have a lot of things to say about Republicans.
“If you go to the Republican convention in Florida, you see all of the old Republicans with the dead skin cells washing off them,” he says in the video. “They’re cheap. They don’t want to pay taxes because they have already raped this country and gotten everything out of it they possibly could.
“They don’t want to pay for your tuition, because who are you? Well, to me you’re somebody,” he says.
The lecture started with a discussion of political correctness and language. But the chopped up version of the video that Campus Reform has been pushing—and that has been viewed more than 20,100 times—only shows the most reported on portion of the lecture. The full 9-minute video has only been viewed 1,000 times.
Watch the full video below:
“Be forewarned, I’m eccentric. I hate bureaucracy. I will say what I think. I never mean to offend you, if I do, come up, tell me, I will apologize,” he says in the video. “And I absolutely don’t mean to offend you, even if you are a Republican. I don’t mean to offend you in this class. Outside of class is a different matter.”
Penn also discusses in the video what he calls “voter suppression.”
“What do you think is going on in South Carolina and North Carolina?” he asks the class. “It’s about getting black people not to vote. Why? Because black people tend to vote Democratic. So why would Republicans want to do it? Because Republicans are not a majority in this country anymore. They are a bunch of dead white people, or dying white people.”
Penn also mentions Mitt and Ann Romney in the video. He asks the class if anyone would want to be Mitt Romney.
“Being rich isn’t all it’s cracked up to be,” he says.
Though his criticisms of Republicans may have been harsh, throughout the video students in the class were laughing.
News sources also say he was bullying a student. About 7 minutes into the video Penn says to a student in the front, “You can frown if you want. You look like you’re frowning. Are you frowning?” But the student’s response is unintelligible and afterwards the whole class laughs.
Yahoo News declares that Penn “is white and sports a feathery mullet.” But Penn is mixed race, Nez Perce and Osage. He is a creative writing professor, a founding member of the Native American Writer’s Circle and won an award for teaching excellence in 2003.
Michigan State University has told Campus Reform that it will be investigating Penn’s comments.
“At MSU it is important the classroom environment is conducive to a free exchange of ideas and is respectful of the opinions of others,” Kent Cassella, an MSU spokesman wrote.
“[M]SU is thankful we’ve been made aware of the situation,” Cassella said in regard to the secretly taped video. “We will be looking into it.”
ICTMN did reach out to Penn, but has not yet heard back.