LAWRENCE — A longtime University of Kansas journalism instructor was placed on indefinite administrative leave from the institution Friday, pending a review of the situation, following Twitter remarks he made targeting the National Rifle Association following Monday’s deadly shooting at the Navy Yard in Washington, D.C.
“#NavyYardShooting The blood is on the hands of the #NRA. Next time, let it be YOUR sons and daughters. Shame on you. May God damn you,” David Guth, a KU associate professor of journalism, tweeted Monday after former Navy reservist Aaron Alexis, 34, went on a shooting spree killing 12 and wounding eight others in the nation’s capital.
Chancellor Bernadette Gray-Little issued a statement regarding Guth Friday, saying “In order to prevent disruptions to the learning environment for students, the School of Journalism and the university, I have directed Provost Jeffrey Vitter to place Associate Professor Guth on indefinite administrative leave pending a review of the entire situation.”
Guth’s classes will be taught by other faculty members, according to the statement.
The KU response came after criticism of Guth and the university by the Kansas State Rifle Association and other groups.
“The KSRA will do everything possible to see to the removal of this man. He should be fired immediately. His statements are outrageous,” Patricia Stoneking, Kansas State Rifle Association president, said Thursday. “Is this who you want teaching your children? I certainly do not want him teaching mine.”
Stoneking also urged the Kansas Board of Regents to take action against Guth, which it did Friday, issuing its own statement following an executive session meeting.
“The Board of Regents expresses its disgust and offense at the statement made by David Guth,” Andy Tompkins, president and CEO of the Board of Regents, said on behalf of the board. “The board also notes that these views in no way represent the views of the university or the Board of Regents.”
Timothy C. Caboni, KU’s vice chancellor for public affairs, also responded to the controversy.
“The contents of Professor Guth’s tweet were repugnant and in no way represent the views or opinions of the University of Kansas,” he said. “Like all Americans, he has the right under the First Amendment to express his personal views and is protected in that regard. But it is truly disgraceful that these views were expressed in such a callous and uncaring way. We expect all members of the university community to engage in civil discourse and not make inflammatory and offensive comments.”