A Philadelphia professor whose controversial comments on Twitter have drawn death threats that led his university to suspend him, announced Thursday, Dec. 28, that he is resigning.
George Ciccariello-Maher, 38, a tenured professor of political science and global studies at Drexel University, wrote on Twitter that he was resigning because a storm of threats against him and his family over the past year have made his situation “unsustainable.”
“Staying at Drexel in the eye of this storm has become detrimental to my own writing, speaking, and organizing,” he said.
Back in October, the University suspended Ciccariello-Maher after he tweeted that the Las Vegas massacre, in which a gunman killed 58 and injured hundreds of others, was a result of white, male privilege. “This is what happens when they don’t get what they want,” he tweeted.
The university said it was suspending him for his own safety and that of the students, but Ciccariello-Maher, a self-professed communist, decried the suspension as an attack on his academic freedom and a win for white-supremacist trolls.
His Las Vegas massacre comments weren’t the first that have landed him in hot water.
He tweeted last Christmas Eve that all he wanted for Christmas was “white genocide,” sparking a wave of protest and calls for his resignation. He later said that the comment was meant as satire.
While Drexel decided not to fire him, it did issue a strongly worded statement condemning his comments. That comment was followed three days later by a statement from the university’s president and executive VP for academic affairs, who said it shows the “importance of choosing one’s words thoughtfully and exercising appropriate judgment in light of the inherent limitations presented by communications on social media.”
Before that, in March, he again drew attention when he tweeted that he was “trying not to vomit or yell about Mosul,” when he saw people thanking a guy who gave up his first-class seat on a plane for a uniformed soldier. Drexel again tried to distance itself from his inflammatory tweets, but said it was made outside the classroom and was his own opinion.
Now, after over a year of attacks and death threats, Ciccariello-Maher says he’s ready to move on.
“I look forward to deepening my research, my writing, and my political organizing,” he said in his farewell on Twitter.
Drexel responded with a statement that reads in part: “Drexel University has accepted his resignation and… wishes Professor Ciccariello-Maher well in his future pursuits.”