After a University of Georgia teaching assistant wrote on Facebook last week that “some white people may have to die for black communities to be made whole in this struggle to advance to freedom,” the University System chancellor and Board Regents have been internally debating an employee’s free speech rights versus the right of an employer to fire an employee. Let’s hope Chancellor Steve Wrigley, backed by guidance from Attorney General Chris Carr, ultimately decides to fire this employee for condoning violence against other people.
If you go through his Facebook feed, the quote represents Irami Osei-Frimpong’s disturbing pattern of hate-based views. “Killing some white people isn’t genocide; it’s killing some white people,” the UGA TA previously explained in a now-deleted posting.
In addition, Osei-Frimpong has labelled Southern whites “autistic sociopaths” but, when a student complained, the UGA “Equal Opportunity Office” ignored it.
Does the hate this “educator” espouses comport with the image and mission of a university?
A statement issued by UGA last week was weak: “To the university’s knowledge, the statements made by this individual were made in his capacity as a private citizen on his personal social media accounts. At this point, we are unaware of any allegation of racially hostile or discriminatory conduct in the course of his professional duties or any statements falling outside of First Amendment protections.”
So UGA initially determined there should be no punishment for this bigot? What?
After blowback this past weekend, particularly on social media and especially from some angry state legislators, sources tell this writer that Chancellor Wrigley is reviewing the initial no-punishment decision with University System lawyers and the state attorney general’s office.
After conferring with various lawyers, it seems to this writer that the legal avenue in dealing with Osei-Frimpong is clear. First and foremost, and this directly applies to this UGA case, the University System attorneys should read a 1992 decision by the 11th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals in Sims v Metropolitan Dade County. It ruled the removal of a public employee for making inflammatory racial statements did not violate his overall First Amendment rights.
Vigorous public debate and discourse is to be encouraged. But advocating or condoning violence against other human beings as a part of “free speech” must not be tolerated in a public university or, for that matter, in a civilized society.
Phil Kent is the CEO/Publisher of InsiderAdvantage and a regular panelist of Fox5 Atlanta’s “The Georgia Gang.”