LAWRENCE, Kan. - The University of Kansas has placed a journalism professor on leave because he posted on Twitter after the recent shootings in Washington, D.C., that "blood is on the hands of the NRA. Next time, let it be YOUR sons and daughters."
The university said Friday that David W. Guth, an associate professor of journalism, was placed on indefinite administrative leave pending a review of the situation.
Chancellor Bernadette Gray-Little says the action was taken to prevent disruptions in the learning environment for students, the journalism school and the university. Timothy Caboni, vice chancellor for public affairs at KU, called the comment "repugnant." Ann Brill, dean of journalism school, says Guth's views don't represent the university, which doesn't advocate violence.
Guth says he wasn't advocating violence, but was trying to make gun advocates see shootings from the point of view of the victims and their families. Guth tweeted the comment in the aftermath of the Navy Yard shootings Monday that left 13 people dead, including the assailant. Kansas Senate Majority Leader Terry Bruce said Thursday he was appalled by the tweet and called for Guth's removal.
Following a meeting of the Kansas Board of Regents on Friday, President and CEO Andy Tompkins issued the following statement on behalf of the Board:
“The Board of Regents expresses its disgust and offense at the statement made by David Guth. The Board also notes that these views in no way represent the views of the university or the Board of Regents. The Board wishes to reiterate the statement made by Dean Ann Brill when she said that ‘while the First Amendment allows anyone to express an opinion, that privilege is not absolute and must be balanced with the rights of others.’ The Board realizes that this matter is a legal and personnel issue for the University of Kansas and is being kept informed of the actions taken by the university. The Board expresses its appreciation for the immediate response by the Chancellor to the situation and expresses its confidence in her leadership.”