Fresno State President Joseph Castro announced Tuesday that professor Randa Jarrar won't be fired for her controversial tweets regarding First Lady Barbara Bush a week ago.
Castro wrote in a statement that while her conduct was "insensitive, inappropriate and an embarrassment to the university," it won't result in her firing. However, she will remain on leave through the spring semester, which she previously requested before the incident, Castro said.
"This issue has raised many important questions about the scope of free speech," Castro said, "and the extent to which a member of our university community can be held accountable for expressing his or her personal views."
Last week, Jarrar 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.”
Castro said while he expects "all of us to engage in respectful dialogue," university staff "carefully reviewed the facts and consulted with CSU counsel to determine whether we could take disciplinary action."
It was determined she didn't violate any California State University or Fresno State policies, Castro said, and was "acting in a private capacity and speaking about a public matter on her personal Twitter account."
"Her comments, although disgraceful, are protected free speech under the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution," he said. "Additionally, although Professor Jarrar used tenure to defend her behavior, this private action is an issue of free speech and not related to her job or tenure. Therefore, the university does not have justification to support taking any disciplinary action."
Castro said the matter highlighted important issues that deserve further consultation.
"Our duty as Americans and as educators is to promote a free exchange of diverse views, even if we disagree with them. At Fresno State, we encourage opinions and ideas to be expressed in a manner that informs, enlightens and educates without being disparaging of others. It makes me proud when I see our students, faculty and staff debate and learn from each other."