Faculty members at the University of Kansas, or so the Daily Kansan would have us believe, are “concerned about free speech at the university.” This worry is somehow heightened by the “upcoming implementation of concealed carry on campus.”
Apparently, the fear is triggered by punishment meted out to associate professor David Guth in 2013 who was put on administrative leave after “tweeting at the National Rifle Association following a shooting at a Washington, D.C., naval base.”
The article in question does not mention what it is that Guth said or why he was particularly vulnerable. The phrase “tweeting at” does not do the incident justice.
Following the mass shooting at the Washington Navy Yard in September 2013, Guth decided the National Rifle Association was at fault despite the fact that the shooter was an African American and Obama supporter.
He let the NRA have it. “Blood is on the hands,” Guth tweeted. “Next time, let it be YOUR sons and daughters. Shame on you. May God damn you.”
“Some interpreted my tweet differently than it was intended,” Guth said lamely in his defense. “I don’t want anyone’s children hurt. The fact my words were misconstrued is my fault.”
What made this all so wonderfully perverse is that Guth is an associate professor of public relations.
Lacking a Ph.D, he presumably got his job based on real world experience. He also co-authored a book titled Adventures in Public Relations: Case Studies and Critical Thinking. Given his background as a professional communicator, it is hard to imagine how Guth expected NRA execs to interpret his threat. They may have to wait for the next edition of Adventures to find out.
As punishment, Guth was relieved of his classroom duties but not of his 82k salary. Instead of teaching he embarked on a semester-long research sabbatical. One can only imagine the topic.
This being the University of Kansas, one need not worry about Guth’s future. In the two years after this incident, despite the horrific Brownback tax-slashing experiment, he enjoyed an 8.5 percent salary increase. That cash cow keeps on giving.