This California literature teacher is getting a lesson in consequences.
Randa Jarrar, a tenured professor at California State University, Fresno, made national headlines last week with a series of obscene Twitter posts about the late former first lady Barbara Bush.
During the rant, Jarrar bragged that she was safely ensconced in her cushy, well-paid academic job because she couldn’t be fired, but she now has more than 20,000 reasons to wonder how true that really is.
Amid national outrage of Jarrar’s tasteless remarks about the widely admired Barbara Bush and her death, a petition calling on Fresno State to fire Jarrar had gained more than 23,000 signatures by Tuesday morning on the website Change.org.
“The behavior is uncalled for and disrespectful no matter your political affiliation!” one signer wrote. “She is clearly no leader/teacher but instead ignorant and a follower & supporter of hate speech. SAD.”
“She should not be able to spew vile ugly comments to students,” another wrote, “which if she’s doing it on social media you know she’s doing it in the classroom.”
Not even a leftist could read Jarrar’s posts as anything but vile.
The late first lady’s body was barely cold before Jarrar was on Twitter, insulting Barbara Bush as an “amazing racist who, along with her husband, raised a war criminal. F*** outta here with your nice words.”
In another, she actually rejoiced at Bush’s death.
And she boasted that she was untouchable in her $100,000 a year salary.
While even conservative groups like the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education have acknowledged Jarrar’s baiting comes under the rubric of free speech, according to Fox News, the university is already feeling pressure from alumni.
The prospect of unhappy Fresno State donors possibly witholding their money, combined with a petition that was gaining signatures every minute after its posting, could well be enough to at least start the process of introducing Professor Jarrar to the unemployment line.
In the days immediately after Jarrar’s rant started, Fresno State President Joseph Castro issued a statement saying he was “shocked and horrified” by Jarrar’s comments.
“We’re obviously going to take this very seriously, this wasn’t just a free speech issue,” Castro said, according to KFSN. “This is an issue of common decency and respect.”
It’s also an issue of just how far American universities will tolerate professors who are letting their own blind political hatreds drive their public statements … and how far any organization can tolerate employees boasting in public about being invulnerable to losing their jobs.
As of Tuesday morning, the petition to fire Professor Jarrar had almost reached its goal of 25,000 signatures, and the number was rising fast. That had to be the last news Jarrar wanted to hear at this point.
She might really be safe from firing because of these tweets alone, but the public reaction is already telling, and Castro’s statement doesn’t bode well for Jarrar’s future on the campus.
It’s a rock-solid bet that her lesson in consequences is coming — and coming fast.
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