Prof who said 'MAGA teens are modern day Hitlerjugend' elected to 'Faculty Responsibility' committee
A University of Mississippi professor who compared teen supporters of President Donald Trump to “Hitlerjugend” has been elected to the “Academic Freedom & Faculty Responsibility” committee.
The professor recently gained tenure by a slim vote, as some were uncomfortable with his statements.
The University of Mississippi professor who tweeted “MAGA teens are modern day Hitlerjugend” and U.S. “senators don’t deserve your civility” has been elected to the UM Chancellor’s standing Academic Freedom & Faculty Responsibility committee.
James Thomas, associate professor of sociology, tweeted in September that he was elected chair of the committee, which takes up issues regarding faculty employment. The university's website lists Thomas' name among the members of the committee.
The Academic Freedom and Faculty Responsibility committee presides over conduct hearings regarding “cases involving the dismissal or termination of tenured faculty, the non-renewal of a contract for a non-tenured faculty member when there is a substantial claim that such action violates academic freedom or equal employment rights, or the dismissal of a non- tenured faculty member prior to the expiration of a term appointment,” according to the university website.
Previously, the professor has come under fire for tweeting inflammatory comments like “MAGA teens are modern day Hitlerjugend. Got a uniform and everything,” and even doubling down, stating “When I said MAGA teens are modern day Hitlerjugend, I meant it. What we’re watching at this rally is the aesthetics of fascism.”
He also tweeted in October 2018, encouraging people to “interrupt a Senator’s meal.”
“Don't just interrupt a Senator's meal, y'all," he tweeted. "Put your whole damn fingers in their salads. Take their [appetizers] and distribute them to the other diners. Bring boxes and take their food home with you on the way out. They don’t deserve your civility."
After that tweet, Jeff Vitter, then-chancellor of UM, wrote on Facebook that “a recent social media post by a UM faculty member did not reflect the values articulated by the university, such as respect for the dignity of each individual and civility and fairness.”
One UM student, Jake Bennett, told Campus Reform that it is "disappointing" that Thomas was elected to the Academic Freedom & Faculty Responsibility, given his prior comments and viewpoints.
“Unfortunately, it is not surprising that Dr. Thomas is now the chair of the Chancellor’s Standing Committee on Academic Freedom and Faculty Responsibility,” Bennett said. “It was disappointing that he was granted tenure after his despicable tweets, including comparing young Trump supporters to Hitler Youth. I hope this isn’t a precursor to the kind of candidate the University is looking for to be the next chancellor. It would be a mistake to have someone so embarrassing represent Ole Miss.”
Thomas was granted tenure by the Board of Trustees of the Institute of Higher Learning (IHL) in Mississippi by a slim vote of 7-5. According to Y’all Politics, his controversial comments proved to be a factor in some votes.
“Trustees discussed whether Thomas’ January 19, 2019 tweet showed a lack of respect for the opinions of others, such as views of colleagues with whom he did not share the same opinions (political or otherwise), and whether it showed appropriate restraint and professionalism,” according to the IHL minutes, obtained by Y’all Politics.
According to the website, Thomas will serve on the committee until August 2022.
Campus Reform reached out to the University of Mississippi but did not receive a response in time for publication.
Follow the author of this article on Twitter: @asabes10