BOSTON – An adjunct professor was fired after leading a classroom discussion about the Virginia Tech shootings in which he pointed a marker at some students and said “pow.”
The five-minute demonstration at Emmanuel College on Wednesday, two days after a student killed 32 people on the Virginia Tech campus, included a discussion of gun control, whether to respond to violence with violence, and the public’s “celebration of victimhood,” said the professor, Nicholas Winset.
During the demonstration, Winset pretended to shoot some students. Then one student pretended to shoot Winset to illustrate his point that the gunman might have been stopped had another student or faculty member been armed.
“A classroom is supposed to be a place for academic exploration,” Winset, who taught financial accounting, told the Boston Herald.
He said administrators had asked the faculty to engage students on the issue. But on Friday, he got a letter saying he was fired and ordering him to stay off campus.
Winset, 37, argued that the Catholic liberal arts school was stifling free discussion by firing him, and he said the move would have a “chilling effect” on open debate. He posted an 18-minute video on the online site YouTube defending his action.
The college issued a statement saying: “Emmanuel College has clear standards of classroom and campus conduct, and does not in any way condone the use of discriminatory or obscene language.”
Student Junny Lee, 19, told The Boston Globe that most students didn’t appear to find Winset’s demonstration offensive.