US professor resigns amid threats over controversial tweets

Washington, Dec 29 (IANS): A US university professor who received death threats after posting several controversial tweets has said that he was resigning because the year-long harassment has made his situation "unsustainable".

George Ciccariello-Maher, a professor of politics and global studies at the Drexel University, Philadelphia, had been teaching his class remotely via video conference after being put on administrative leave, a move that the varsity said was for his own safety, reports CNN.

On Thursday, the professor said his resignation was effective from December 31.

"This is not a decision I take lightly; however, after nearly a year of harassment by right-wing, white supremacist media outlets and internet mobs, after death threats and threats of violence directed against me and my family, my situation has become unsustainable,"
Ciccariello-Maher wrote on his Facebook account.

"Staying at Drexel in the eye of this storm has become detrimental to my own writing, speaking, and organising."

The professor said the threats began in December 2016after he posted on Twitter: "All I Want for Christmas is White Genocide."

He said the tweet was a joke, a "satirical jab at a certain paranoid racist fantasy and that white genocide does not exist".

Ciccariello-Maher drew more outrage this March after tweeting that he was "trying not to vomit" watching someone give up their first-class seat for a uniformed soldier. He said he was upset about airstrikes in Iraq that killed civilians and that his post was misrepresented by "right-wing media", CNN reported.

In October, the professor tweeted that "Trumpism" and the "narrative of white victimization" were to blame for the mass shooting in Las Vegas that left 58 people dead and more than 500 wounded.

Drexel said in a statement Thursday that Ciccariello-Maher was leaving to "pursue other opportunities" and that it wished him well.

According to the American Association of University Professors, more than 100 incidents of targeted harassment against professors were reported on college campuses in the past year.

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