Fresno State responds after controversial tweets go unpunished

FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- Emotions ran high as hundreds of students, faculty and staff gathered to discuss the recent controversy surrounding Fresno State.

"I'm now afraid to graduate in December and to walk out into the world with a degree from Fresno State, because all people are going to see is that woman," Bailey Cook said as she fought back tears.

The Ag student worries her hard work will be overshadowed by a professors tweets, "I think they were crass and if she wanted to make those comments there was probably a more polite and respectful way to go about it."

RELATED: Fresno State professor calls Barbara Bush 'amazing racist' after her death in controversial tweet

One week after announcing English Professor Randa Jarrar will face no punishment after tweeting Barbara Bush was "an amazing racist who raised a war criminal," University President Joseph Castro addressed concerns regarding the decision-making process saying, " the comments were disgraceful but there are legal matters we had to consider."

RELATED:Fresno State President: no punishment for professor who called Barbara Bush an 'amazing racist'

Philosophy student Maraika Kuipers, feels Professor Jarrar is being unfairly criticized saying, "Yes, our speech does have consequences, but that's the beauty of it. It can inspire change, but it can also be met with opposition and be learned from."

After acknowledging the tens of thousands of calls that came into the school, President Castro held the forum to discuss what they've learned from the situation and what they hope to do going forward.

The University President hopes to draft a "best practices" policy, "There's going to be a call for ways in which we ought to treat each other," in addition to bringing back free speech forums so the campus has a better understanding of the First Amendment.

Jarrar is expected to be back on campus for the Fall semester.

A public version of this forum is Thursday night at the Save Mart Center at 7 pm. The Student Republicans will also be holding an event Tuesday night in the free speech area of Fresno State.
Copyright © 2019 KFSN-TV. All Rights Reserved.