Fresno State holds public forum to address controversial tweets by professor

FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- Close to 200 people packed the Save Mart Center Thursday night for Fresno State's public meeting regarding a professor's controversial tweets that made national headlines.

English professor Randa Jarrar shared on her personal Twitter account two weeks ago that former first lady Barbara Bush was "an amazing racist" who raised "a war criminal". She posted it hours after Bush died.

While most denounced the actions of Jarrar, there were some like Maraika Kuipers who supported the professor's right to speak freely. She believes the issue at hand is bigger than the social media post. "I feel like there is not this public outrage, this community forum, when comments about Muslims, against Arabs, against oppressed communities in our own lives," Kuipers said. "So the fact there is a forum about this is telling about current political climate in our society."

Among those present was Fresno councilman Steve Brandau. The District 2 leader said he trust that the university made the right decision by not firing Jarrar. However, he also thinks something needs to be done to prevent a similar situation from happening again.

"Maybe if we can't do much about this professor now I can live with that," Brandau told reporters. "But how about moving forward -- can we create some polices that would protect atmospheres, students, the extended community that calls Fresno state their university."

Despite the uproar and criticism, President Joseph Castro made it clear that the university acted responsibly.

"I cannot pick and choose laws," Castro said. "That is not what a university president is supposed to do."

Castro also said he still condemns Jarrar's comments.
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