Friday, December 19, 2014

KU professor behind controversial anti-NRA tweet won’t return to classroom this year

By The Herald Staff | 10/25/2013

LAWRENCE — A University of Kansas professor who sparked a surge of controversy last month following a tweet about the Sept. 16 deadly shooting at the Navy Yard in Washington, D.C., won’t be back in the classroom this year.

David Guth, an associate professor in the university’s William Allen White School of Journalism and Mass Communications, was put on indefinite administrative leave Sept. 20 after tweeting, “#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.” KU said the posting on Guth’s personal Twitter account caused disruptions in the university’s learning environment, prompting the move.

Some critics of Guth's comments had called on KU to fire the professor.

Thursday’s university announcement said Guth now has been assigned additional non-classroom responsibilities at the journalism school for the remainder of the semester, including various service and administrative assignments. “Those assignments will be completed away from campus to the greatest extent possible,” KU said.

The decision, which ends Guth’s administrative leave and was effective Friday, was made by Provost Jeffrey Vitter and approved by Chancellor Bernadette Gray-Little, based on the recommendation of a seven-member committee of faculty and staff, assembled at the chancellor’s request. The committee was asked to assess the current environment and recommend whether Guth could return from administrative leave without disrupting the student learning environment, KU said.

Guth is set to begin a previously approved semester-long research sabbatical beginning in January 2014. Teaching assignments for the fall 2014 semester have not yet been made.

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