ORLANDO, Fla. — The University of Central Florida is reviewing the tweets of a professor after a hashtag calling for his removal trended early Thursday morning.
Twitter users called for the university to fire psychology professor Charles Negy after he composed a tweet comparing African-Americans to Asian-Americans.
The tweet came amid the protests across the country after an officer was seen kneeling on the neck of George Floyd, leading to his death.
Negy has other racially divisive tweets that users pointed out to the university with the hashtag #UCFfirehim.
While the university confirmed the professor’s tweets went against its values, it wasn’t made clear which action it would take, if any, citing the professor’s freedom of speech under the First Amendment:
Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances.
UCF president Alexander Cartwright addressed Negy’s tweets in a town hall with students on Thursday.
“These posts do not reflect the values of UCF, and I strongly condemn these racist and abhorrent posts. I understand the anger it has caused many of our students, staff and faculty,” Cartwright said.
“I promise you this is a matter that has our full attention, and we have launched an inquiry to quickly – but fully – evaluate this situation.”
According to the university’s faculty page, Negy has been with UCF since 1998. His research areas include “examining how people rate the seriousness of domestic violence differently depending on the race and ethnicity of those involved in the violence,” according to the website.
Sociology professor Jonathan Cox said he is on the fence on whether Negy should be fired. But other’s are not.
“I definitely think UCF should fire him,” said UCF student Megan Felder.
Via email, Negy told Channel 9 he's been making controversial comments for three decades and that he's "bi-ethnic, gay."
He said he “probably should have given it a rest for week or so, but” he wanted to “chime” into the national debate.
If Negy’s name sounds familiar, Channel 9 did a story on him back in 2012 after an email he wrote saying some of his students showed signs of “religious bigotry” went viral on Reddit.
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