MSU Prof Will Not Teach This Fall After Controversial Comments - WLNS TV 6 Lansing - Jackson | Your Local News Leader

MSU Professor Will Not Teach This Fall After Controversial Comments

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EAST LANSING, Mich. (WLNS) - A Michigan State University professor is no longer allowed to teach his fall semester classes after a video of him accusing Republicans of racism and raping America went viral online.

According to our media partners at MLive, William Penn was in front of his *IAH 207: Literature, Cultures, Identities course on Thursday, August 29 when the video was filmed.

(*Integrative Studies to Arts and Humanities)

"If you go to the Republican convention in Florida, you see all the old Republicans with dead skin cells washing off them," Penn says in the video. "They're cheap. They don't want to pay taxes because they have already raped this country and gotten everything out of it they possibly could."

Anthony Panella, a student in the course during the episode, said it was clear some students became uncomfortable with his remarks. "I can see why people are angry about it," Panell said. "He went a little too far I guess."

But not everyone took offense. Libby McKenna admitts she was shocked hearing Penn's rant, but says she's against the university's replacing him. "He told us at the beginning of class he was going to be saying things there were controversial.

"I would like him to be brought back--and I think there's actually a lot of students in there that found him entertaining even if he was inappropriate. He caught our attention, made us listen," said McKenna.

MSU said Penn's classes have been reassigned to alternate instructors.

The university released a statement on September 5 about the video:

"Michigan State University is committed to creating a learning environment that is characterized by mutual respect and civility where diverse ideas can be explored.

On Sept. 3, university leaders were made aware of several statements made by Professor William Penn in a classroom. Once MSU was made aware of the situation the Office of the Provost immediately began a review.

The dean of the College of Arts and Letters and a representative from the provost's office met with Penn, who acknowledged that some of his comments were inappropriate, disrespectful and offensive and may have negatively affected the learning environment.

Penn's teaching duties have been reassigned to others. Students' education will continue as scheduled with alternate instructors."

--Kent Cassella, MSU spokesman

According to MSU's website, Penn has written seven books, won the Stephen Crane Prize for Fiction twice, an American Book Award, a North American Indian Prose Award and a distinguished faculty award.

You can watch the full video posted to YouTube here.

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