'I was shocked and horrified by them,' President Castro responds to Fresno State professor's tweets

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Thursday, April 19, 2018
'I was shocked and horrified by them,' President Castro responds to Fresno State professor's tweets
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Fresno State President Joseph Castro is condemning the language used by a university faculty member in regards to the passing of former First Lady Barbara Bush.

FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- Fresno State President Joseph Castro says he condemns the language used by a University faculty member about the late First Lady, Barbara Bush.

Within an hour of the former First Lady's passing, associate Professor Randa Jarrar voiced her disdain for the Bush family on Twitter. The tweet that called Barbara Bush "an amazing racist who along with her husband raised a war criminal," generated thousands of replies including criticism and death threats. Jarrar didn't back down. At one point she tweeted "I'm happy the witch is dead," even boasting about her tenure status.

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

University President Joseph Castro said he is "shocked and horrified" by the comments made by Professor Jarrar and adds just because a teacher has tenure, doesn't mean they won't be held accountable. He says, "I condemn the tone, substance, and timing of the comment she made yesterday."

President Castro went on to say, "We're obviously going to take this very seriously, this wasn't just a free speech issue. This is an issue of common decency and respect."

LISTEN: President Castro's full discussion with Vanessa

Jarrar was hired in August, of 2010, as an Associate Professor. She's not teaching any courses this semester. According to the University, she has taken a personal leave of absence for the Spring 2018 semester.

Students voiced their concerns. Senior Nathanael Byers says, "It was really disrespectful to talk ill about the dead like that. She kinda thinks she's untouchable since she's tenure."

"One of my friends had her in the past and talked about how she was a pretty solid professor. and how at times she had her political comments in class," Graduate student Michael Smith said.

In a press conference, Wednesday, University representatives said they respect her first amendment rights, but they come with responsibility.

RELATED: Fresno State responds after controversial tweet by professor regarding the death of Barbara Bush

Provost Lynnette Zelezny, Vice President of Academic Affairs says, "What we're most concerned about is we do represent university values a respect for diversity."

WATCH: Fresno State news conference on social media controversy

By phone President Castro added, "these comments in no way define us. I reject them I condemn them and we will look at this matter carefully and do the right thing."

President Castro went on to say he is reviewing the incident, looking at all the facts and says all options regarding potential disciplinary actions are on the table. They plan to follow the collective bargaining agreement, university policy, and the law.

RELATED: Barbara Bush, former first lady to President George H.W. Bush, has died