• The Interdisciplinary Resource Center on the campus of Ferris State University in Big Rapids, Michigan. Photo by Michael Barera. License link: https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Ferris_State_University_August_2010_09_(IRC).JPG.

Ferris State University Professor Fired for Homophobic, Racist, Anti-Semitic Tweets

By |2021-03-02T14:15:26-05:00March 2nd, 2021|Michigan, News|

Physical sciences professor at Ferris State University Thomas Brennan has been fired for tweeting homophobic, racist and anti-Semitic comments. Brennan was under investigation by the university since November when FSU President David Eisler issued a statement.

“Individually and collectively, we were shocked and outraged by these tweets,” the statement said in part. “They are extremely offensive and run counter to the values of our university and our commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion. Our students, faculty, staff and members of the community are upset and offended by these comments, and they should be.”

Screenshot via Twitter. Courtesy of Torch.

For his part, Brennan blamed the inappropriate tweets on his psychological state at the time he sent them, which, he claimed, was aggravated by crippling migraine headaches and persecution he faced from FSU after allegedly revealing to campus police that he was a TI, or targeted individual.

“I am one of thousands of Americans from all walks of life who claim to be victims of a secret program that harasses people, breaks into their homes and uses emf (electro-magnetic fields) along with bio, neuro or nano-technologies to poison and torture their targets,” Brennan said in a six-page statement he released following the firing that he called his defense and presented to the school’s administration. “Rather than kill the target, the goal is to get the target to have a breakdown that discredits them and causes them to lose their livelihood.”

Things came to a head in August when Brennan took part in a back-to-school, college-wide Zoom meeting.

“Some of the faculty and administrators talked about the BLM/Antifa protests in a positive light,” said Brennan in another part of his defense statement. “Since those were the topics of discussion and opinions were being shared, I felt it was relevant and within my rights to express my opinion.”

That opinion included statements such as “the pandemic and riots are a leftist stunt to overthrow the U.S.,” and “the U.S. death numbers are exaggerated.”

Screenshot via Twitter. Courtesy of Torch.

While these statements resulted in Brennan receiving a letter of reprimand from Acting Dean Trinidy Williams, it was the content of his tweets, first reported by Torch, the Ferris State University student newspaper, that proved to be the final straw. Brennan explained the texts by stating he had started to fall into despair.

“Despair is a dangerous emotion and it will eventually cause you to be self-destructive,” Brennan’s statement continued. “And that’s what happened to me. Instead of being physically violent and harmful, I decided to become verbally violent and harmful. But only Twitter.

“I know that many of the things I tweeted were horrible and I truly don’t feel that way in my heart,” Brennan went on. “But out of spite for myself and what my world had turned into, I decided to say all the things that are some of the worst things you could say.”

Screenshot via Twitter. Courtesy of Torch.

Regardless of his motives and what possibly preceded the tweets, the university administration decided to discontinue their relationship with the professor. FSU’s News Services and Social Media Manager Sandy Gholston released a statement confirming Brennan’s termination, but she gave no further comment or details.

Erin Knott, executive director of Equality Michigan, had this to say about Brennan’s tweets.

“Businesses and institutions know that if you want to maintain a quality workforce that attracts workers and consumers – you must uphold values that include honoring diversity, equity and inclusion. Offensive comments and hate speech that run counter to these values are no longer tolerated,” Knott said. “… Employers must focus on their internal culture and strongly reject racist, anti-Semitic and homophobic slurs. A zero-tolerance policy regarding discriminatory and bigoted language is expected, as is swift action and condemnation.”

About the Author:

Jason A. Michael
Jason A. Michael earned a bachelor’s degree in journalism from Wayne State University before joining Between The Lines as a contributing writer in 1999. Jason has received both the Spirit of Detroit Award (presented by the Detroit City Council) and the Media Award from the Community Pride Banquet & Awards Ceremony for his writing and activism. Jason is also an Essence magazine bestselling author having written the authorized biography "Strength Of A Woman: The Phyllis Hyman Story," which he released on his own JAM Books imprint.