Michigan State University professor William Penn’s fall classes have been assigned to other professors after a student secretly recorded his views on Republicans during the first lecture of the semester.
Penn, Nez Perce/Osage, an award-winning creative writing professor and novelist, admitted that his comments were offensive.
“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.
Michigan State spokesman Kent Cassella told the Washington Post that Penn “acknowledged that some of his comments were inappropriate, disrespectful and offensive and may have negatively affected the learning environment.”
“Penn’s teaching duties have been reassigned to others. Students’ education will continue as scheduled with alternate instructors,” Cassella continued.
He was scheduled to teach at least two classes at the East Lansing campus. As a tenured professor he will still collect an annual salary of about $150,000 but it is not known if he will return to teach for the winter term.
Michigan State University trustee Mitch Lyons, a Republican himself, first addressed the situation September 4 on Twitter, saying: “Thank u MSU Prof. William Penn for blowing up my email and phone today.Ur ridiculous hate speech diatribe is appreciated. ?#wasteofmytime.”
Lyons has served on the board since 2011 and told MLive.com that Penn’s remarks were upsetting.
“That certainly doesn’t foster a sense of community in the classroom where you can share your own thoughts,” Lyons said. “He was spewing hate, really, and that’s uncalled for, regardless of party. I didn’t think that was appropriate for the classroom at all.
“It didn’t give me the impression that he was inviting different views, which is kind of the culture we’re trying to encourage.”
ICTMN has tried calling and emailing Penn for comment but has not been able to contact him.
Watch the full video below: