Monday, September 23, 2013
A University of Kansas professor says he agreed to begin a planned sabbatical early amid the firestorm over his Twitter comment about the mass shootings at the Navy Yard in Washington.
David Guth told The Associated Press in an email Saturday that he agrees with the university that the safety of students is the top priority.
Guth say says he and others have received thousands of angry tweets, phone calls and emails. He says some contained thinly veiled death threats.
The university announced Friday it was placing the journalism professor on indefinite administrative leave. Its spokesman confirmed Monday such administrative leaves are paid.
In February, Guth was awarded a sabbatical that was to begin in spring 2014 to research how rural community journalists survive in the 21st century.
The University of Kansas professor who was placed on leave for a tweet may have deleted his Twitter account completely.
A search Monday morning for @DWGuth revealed his handle no longer exists. David Guth is on administrative leave, after making online comments about the Washington Navy Yard shootings blaming the National Rifle Association.
Several Republicans in the Kansas legislature want Guth fired. Employment law experts say the Guth case raises legal questions about how far employers can go in holding employees accountable for what they say on social media.
The Lawrence Journal-World reports Mike Selmi, who teaches employment law at George Washington University in Washington, says public employees usually enjoy stronger First Amendment protection than private-sector employees.
A spokesman for the American Civil Liberties Union says he didn't like Guth's comment, but he believes it's protected speech.