The Black Student Union tweeted out a statement Wednesday rebuking a BGSU adjunct instructor and recently resigned Napoleon councilman for an offensive tweet.
On Nov. 30, Travis Sheaffer posted that Rep. Ilhan Omar of Minnesota should be “tried for treason and hanged” before deleting the tweet and his Twitter account.
BGSU’s official Twitter account responded to WTOL reporter Tyler Paley’s request for a response, saying Sheaffer does not speak for the university but his expression on social media is protected under BGSU’s policy on free speech and expression based on the First Amendment.
Mr. Sheaffer does not speak for Bowling Green State University. The tweet from his personal account was inappropriate and counter to BGSU’s values on diversity, belonging and civility. (1 of 2)— BGSU (@bgsu) December 1, 2019
BSU’s statement expressed support for marginalized communities and disdain for the “racist rhetoric” found in Sheaffer’s tweet. The statement also called for students to report Sheaffer through the BGSU bias reporting system.
Since the university responded to Sheaffer’s tweet, students have been speaking out about its response. Many saw the university’s use of the free speech policy as a substitute for consequences.
Latino Student Union executive board member Alexis Ray tweeted out her disapproval.
BGSU needs to come up with a new plan because this isn’t going to work. “The first amendment” should NOT justify the statement that an woman of color in politics should be HANGED. As a student, I would NOT feel safe in this man’s classes and he should not be at this campus. https://t.co/v62CKuwUDv— Alexis Ray (@justcallmeIman) December 3, 2019
Asian Student Union President Meghan McKinley also questioned how the university’s response took into account students’ safety.
Currently Sheaffer is an adjunct computer science instructor and the College of Arts and Sciences technology projects coordinator.