Thomas Brennan was placed on administrative leave by Ferris State University (Facebook/Twitter)
A Michigan university professor who tweeted “racist, anti-Semitic and homophobic slurs” and dismissed COVID-19 as a “leftist stunt” has been placed on administrative leave.
Thomas Brennan, an assistant physical science professor at the Ferris State University in Michigan, was placed on leave on Thursday (November 19) after student newspaper The Torch shared screenshots of tweets he posted in which he used racist and homophobic slurs.
In a bizarre and lengthy statement posted to his own website, Brennan said the student newspaper’s article was a “hit piece”.
“This controversy started after I made a few statements in a College of Arts and Sciences meeting of faculty and staff about the COVID-19 pandemic,” Brennan wrote.
“My statements were to the effect that I believe the COVID-19 pandemic is a stunt designed to enslave humanity and strip us all of our rights and freedoms.”
Michigan professor Thomas Brennan claimed the severity of COVID-19 has been ‘exaggerated’ by ‘leftists’.
While Brennan said he does not believe the COVID-19 pandemic is a “hoax”, he claimed its severity has been “exaggerated by revolutionary leftists in the media and government”, despite the fact that 1.4 million people have died from the virus worldwide.
He went on to defend his use of slurs on Twitter, saying he likes to “test the boundaries of language and ideas” and will “sometimes say some things that sound inflammatory or strange”.
“It’s been my way of ‘poking the dragon.’ Until now, it’s gone unnoticed, but I have finally caught the attention of the ‘cancel culture’,” Brennan wrote.
In his statement, Brennan did not reference his use of homophobic slurs, but claimed that he used the N-word because he wanted to “neutralise its power”.
Brennan went on to wheel out bizarre conspiracy theories in his statement, suggesting that atomic bombs are not real and that the moon landings were faked.
Our students, faculty, staff and members of the community are upset and offended by these comments, and they should be.
University president David L Eisler condemned Brennan’s comments in a statement released on Monday (November 23).
“Last week the university learned of racist, anti-Semitic and homophobic slurs made on Twitter that appear to be posted by Thomas Brennan, an assistant physical science professor in the College of Arts, Sciences and Education,” Eisler wrote.
“Individually and collectively we were shocked and outraged by these tweets. They are extremely offensive and run counter to the values of our university and our commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion.
“Our students, faculty, staff and members of the community are upset and offended by these comments, and they should be.”
Eisler also referenced a staff meeting in August, at which Brennan, over Zoom, claimed that COVID-19 death rates had been exaggerated. At that meeting, Brennan claimed that the pandemic and rioting were “leftist stunts”, Eisler wrote.
“Our university was founded on the concept that education is for all of the people all of the time, that all people are welcome here. We strongly reject these statements, condemn them and will not tolerate them.
“We have worked diligently to become a more diverse university, and these statements demonstrate vividly how one person can set back the work of many.
“I call on our university community to come together, to discuss these challenges and to begin to repair the damage from these actions,” Eisler concluded.