Drexel Professor Whose Charged Tweets Drew Fire From the Right Will Leave the University

George Ciccariello-Maher, whose controversial posts on Twitter placed him at the center of what he called a “new offensive against academia” by the far right, says he will leave his faculty position at Drexel University.

Mark Makela for The Chronicle

George Ciccariello-Maher: “After death threats and threats of violence directed against me and my family, my situation has become unsustainable.”

“This is not a decision I take lightly,” he wrote in a Facebook post. “However, after nearly a year of harassment by right-wing, white-supremacist media outlets and internet mobs, after death threats and threats of violence directed against me and my family, my situation has become unsustainable. Staying at Drexel in the eye of this storm has become detrimental to my own writing, speaking, and organizing.”

In an emailed statement, the Philadelphia university confirmed that it had accepted Mr. Ciccariello-Maher’s resignation, and said it recognized “the significant scholarly contributions that Professor Ciccariello-Maher has made to the field of political thought and his service to the Drexel University community as an outstanding classroom teacher.”

In October the university placed Mr. Ciccariello-Maher, an associate professor in the department of politics and global-studies, on leave after he received threats for tweeting about the responsibility of the “the white-supremacist patriarchy” for mass shootings.

That incident carried echoes of the controversy that first lifted Mr. Ciccariello-Maher into public view. In December 2016 the professor tweeted, “All I Want for Christmas Is White Genocide.” Online threats followed, as did a condemnation from Drexel, which called the remarks “inflammatory,” “utterly reprehensible,” and “deeply disturbing,” while also saying they were protected speech.

Mr. Ciccariello-Maher has argued that the threats and pushback against his charged statements constitute a “new offensive against academia” by far-right groups. And his case was part of a trend of online attacks against professors’ speech that has prompted some academics to push administrators not to discipline professors when they become the object of internet outrage.

Andy Thomason oversees breaking-news coverage. Send him a tip at andy.thomason@chronicle.com. And follow him on Twitter @arthomason.

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