Randa Jarrar, the leftist professor who crassly celebrated Barbara Bush’s death with a series of offensive and disrespectful tweets about the former first lady and her family, is on leave from the school and out of the country. But that isn't stopping her supporters from coming forward and applauding her.
What's the history?
Jarrar celebrated Bush’s death last week in a string of tweets that are no longer available for public view.
In one tweet, the liberal professor wrote, “Barbara Bush was a generous and smart and amazing racist who, along with her husband, raised a war criminal. F*** outta here with your nice words.”
She added, “PSA: either you are against these pieces of s**t and their genocidal ways or you’re part of the problem. That’s actually how simple this is. I’m happy the witch is dead. Can’t wait for the rest of her family to fall to their demise the way 1.5 million Iraqis have.”
Jarrar received a viral level of criticism on the social media networking platform, and in response, bragged that because she was a tenured professor, she couldn't be fired.
Fresno State President Joseph Castro issued a statement about Jarrar’s tweeting shortly after her remarks hit viral status.
“On behalf of Fresno State, I extend my deepest condolences to the Bush family on the loss of our former First Lady, Barbara Bush,” Castro wrote. “We share the deep concerns expressed by others over the personal comments made today by professor Randa Jarrar, a professor in the English Department at Fresno State.”
“Her statements were made as a private citizen, not as a representative of Fresno State,” the statement added. “Professor Jarrar’s expressed personal views and commentary are obviously contrary to the core values of our University, which include respect and empathy for individuals with divergent points of view, and a sincere commitment to mutual understanding and progress.”
Castro later told the the Fresno Bee that, while Jarrar’s remarks may have been made as a private citizen and not as a representative of the school,“a professor with tenure does not have blanket protection to say and do what they wish.”
What's happening now?
A local literary community hailed Jarrar as a hero on Saturday during a local literary festival she was supposed to headline.
Jarrar, who is on leave from Fresno State for the remainder of the semester, bowed out of headlining the festival, LitHop, and, according to Fox News, has left the country.
A portion of a statement from Fresno City College revealed Jarrar's withdrawal from the festival and also explicitly noted that Jarrar's comments were her own, and not supported by Fresno City College or LitHop.
— Fresno City College (@fresnocity) April 18, 2018
The outlet reported that during the festival, attendees applauded the professor each time they heard her name mentioned.
Lee Herrick, founder of the festival, told the Bee, "I support Randa Jarrar's free speech and I also denounce any violence against her or threats of violence against anyone else."
He added, "Randa is in our thoughts. She's a very important part of this literary community and she is on everyone's minds for her safety and some of the important issues that are being raised about the importance of free speech."
Juan Luis Guzman, the director of LitHop, added that Jarrar's controversy knit the community together.
"I saw a lot of people showing their love and support for Randa," he said, according to the outlet.
Carmen Giménez Smith, a poet who ended up being the festival's replacement headliner read a poem and dedicated it to Jarrar, who she said is a "writer who tests limits and pursues liberty through her literature," according to the Bee.
Daniel Burnett, communications manager at FIRE, Foundation for Individual Rights in Education, also came forward to issue a statement of support for Jarrar.
"Fresno State correctly acknowledges that Jarrar’s tweets were made as a private citizen. As such, and because they touched upon a matter of public concern, Jarrar’s tweets are unquestionably protected speech under the First Amendment and Fresno State has no power to censor, punish, or terminate Jarrar for them," Burnett said in a statement to TheBlaze.