David Guth, a University of Kansas journalism professor, made exasperated comments through his Twitter account, wishing brutal violence upon the families of the NRA members after the Washington Navy yard shootings. Guth’s actions resulted in his subjection to indefinite leave without pay, as of Sept. 20. However, it has been announced that he will be able to return to the campus next fall.
Under the conditions of his return, Guth will be required to work for the journalism school outside of campus as much as possible and will be prohibited to partake in any classroom duties for the rest of the year.
Gun rights supporters were enraged with the fact that Guth was not terminated from his job. State lawmakers were threatened the university financially if Guth wasn’t permanently let go. Contrastingly, there were other criticisms of Guth’s punishment. There was implication that his freedom of speech should have been better protected, despite the fact that government officials were the ones opposing this issue.
State Sen. Greg Smith of Overland Park made it clear that he did not agree with the universities’ ruling to place Guth on leave with pay.
“All they’re doing is stalling, hoping that it will die down and everybody will forget about it,” Smith said in an Oct. 24 Kansas City Star article. “He was way out of line, way outside anything that’s covered by tenure, due process or anything else. As far as I’m concerned, it was hate speech.”
The topic of gun control has always been a volatile issue. There are citizens who believe that everyone is entitled to the right to protect themselves, as well as their household.
“Taking guns away from citizens wont stop crimes from happening,” Sarah Rahjes, freshman in agricultural economics, said. “There are countless crimes committed without guns and taking them away from the innocent only disables them from protecting themselves.”
An opposing belief that there should be more rules and regulations when it comes to being able to purchase a firearm.
“Gun control has to be a healthy balance between regulatory legislation and personal responsibility,” Chris Cook, senior in finance, said. “The right to bear arms is explicitly stated in the constitution, however, there should be a set standards that individuals should meet before being allowed to own firearms.”
Another topic up for discussion regarding Guth’s incident is the issue of freedom of speech, which is protected by the First Amendment. American citizens are able to voice their opinions, given that it does no trespass upon the rights of others.
“I think that it’s important for Americans to have the ability to express their opinions, without there being any repercussions,” Maria Blando, junior in family studies and human services, said. “If people were fearful that they would be punished for speaking their mind, then they wouldn’t do it.”