MSU president: Prof's anti-Republican rant was 'out of bounds'

The professor who delivered a blistering attack on Republicans in his first day of class, was relieved of teaching because his comments were "out of bounds," Michigan State University (MSU) President Lou Anna Simon told Grand Rapids ABC News affiliate WZZM13 on Thursday. 

Simon did not however, discuss her administration's decision to allow Prof. WIlliam Penn to retain his salary, which is $146,510 annually, according to MSU's official website. 

"At some point in time you get out of bounds in the way things are handled - it affects the learning environment"   

"We believe that the... the environment for learning that was created by that set of remarks was not conducive to the environment of learning that we needed," she said according to transcript provided to Campus Reform by WZZM Channel 13. 

"At some point in time you get out of bounds in the way things are handled - it affects the learning environment," she said. "The judgment was that it affected significantly the learning environment."

Simon also described administrators' scramble to address the issue after Campus Reform released the secretly recorded video earlier this week.

"When it [the secret video] came to our attention Wednesday the provost and dean of the college immediately sat down with the faculty member involved," she said. "A decision was made he would no longer be in the classroom...  students were told today and arrangements were made to replace appropriate faculty."

School spokesperson Jason Cody explained in an email to Campus Reform late Thursday afternoon that the professor's employment status, and salary will remain untouched. 

"He has not been suspended," wrote Jason. "His employment status has not changed; his teaching duties have been reassigned."

Follow the author of this article on Twitter: @JosiahRyan and @CalebBonham

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Josiah Ryan
Josiah Ryan | Editor-in-Chief Emeritus

Josiah Ryan is a former editor-in-chief for Campus Reform, and former director of communications for LI's Campus Leadership Program. Previously Josiah reported on the U.S. Senate for The Hill newspaper in Washington D.C. and was the cofounder of The Floor Action blog, a live-stream on policy, politics, and procedure in the upper chamber.

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