JACKSON, Miss. (AP) — A University of Mississippi sociology professor criticized for encouraging “acts of aggression” against Republican politicians was granted tenure by a divided College Board on Thursday.
Trustees approved the promotion of Professor James Michael Thomas after pulling only his name from a list of 76 routine tenure approvals and debating his case in a two-hour closed session.
Thomas appeared to be in good shape for tenure last fall, publishing prolifically and winning multiple awards. But as Brett Kavanaugh was confirmed to the U.S. Supreme Court on Oct. 6, Thomas tweeted a reply to MSNBC host Joe Scarborough.
Scarborough had tweeted that people should not yell at senators, shout at people in restaurants or “rage about past votes.” Thomas disagreed.
“Don’t just interrupt a senator’s meal, y’all,” Thomas wrote. “Put your whole damn fingers in their salads. Take their apps and distribute them to the other diners. Bring boxes and take their food home with you on the way out. They don’t deserve your civility.”
The tweet got slammed at the national level, where Republicans criticize what they see as liberal indoctrination at public universities, and at the state level, where Ole Miss administrators face continuing resistance to the school’s decades-long dismantling of Confederate symbols.