Professor Fired After Hurricane Harvey Tweet

Author:
Publish date:
Updated on
Professor Fired After Hurricane Harvey Tweet Promo Image

A visiting professor at the University of Tampa has been fired after tweeting about Hurricane Harvey and Texas.

Kenneth Storey wrote on the social media platform that the impact of the storm was "karma" for Texans who voted Republican, the Tampa Bay Times reported.

"I dont believe in instant karma but this kinda feels like it for Texas. Hopefully this will help them realize the GOP doesnt care about them," Storey tweeted on Aug. 27, according to the Times.

The university posted a statement on its Facebook page on Aug. 28 condemning the tweet.

Storey removed the tweet and issued an apology.

Conservative websites shared the tweet, leading to more criticism of the university and of Storey's comments on social media.

On Aug. 29, the university announced Storey would be fired.

"We condemn the comments and the sentiment behind them, and understand the pain this irresponsible act has caused," a statement from university spokesman Eric Cardenas read. "As Floridians, we are well aware of the destruction and suffering associated with tropical weather."

Ari Cohn, an attorney with the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education, disagreed with the decision.

Image placeholder title

"Many universities seem to decide: 'Well, it's not worth the trouble of sticking up for our faculty members' rights,' and that's troubling," Cohn told the Times. "The University of Tampa's own policies say faculty members retain their rights to speak as private citizens, which is exactly what Ken Storey seems to have done."

Storey argued that the controversial tweet was a small part of a larger argument he was making.

"I apologize for the the tweets," said Storey. "My intention was never to offend anyone. This was a series of tweets taken out of context. I was referring to the GOP denial of climate change science and push to decrease funds from agencies that can help in a time like this. I hope all affected by the storm are safe and recover quickly. I also hope this helps the GOP realize the need to support climate change research and put in place better funding for agencies like NOAA and FEMA."

The decision to fire Storey came as news broke that a levee south of Houston had been breached by rising water levels caused by Tropical Storm Harvey.

At least eight people have died as a result of the storm. Police say they have carried out 3,500 rescues and at least 1,000 people are still waiting for help.

"People were screaming out: 'Help, help, help!' And you know: 'We'll come back for you. We'll come back for you'," said Abe Minor, who volunteered to help with the rescue, ABC News reported. "One turned to two. Two turned to three. Three turned to four. Next thing you know, there's 20 different people you've rescued, along with their animals."

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott told ABC on Aug. 27 that it would likely take years to rebuild following the damage wrought on the city and surrounding areas.

Sources: Tampa Bay Times, ABC News / Featured Image: DanTD/Wikimedia Commons / Embedded Images: Gage Skidmore/Flickr via Wikimedia Commons, Craig Rogarte/Dvidshub.net via Wikimedia Commons

Popular Video