Professor Who Was Suspended For ‘Game Of Thrones’ Shirt Lays The Smack Down On School, Wins
Back in April the story broke that an animation professor at Bergen Community College was suspended after administrators deemed him a threat.
Why did they deem him a threat? Because of a photo circulating of his daughter wearing a ‘Game of Thrones’ t-shirt emblazoned with famous Targaryen words. It was a clear cut example of the furuther pussification of America. Alas, we’ve come to some resolution on this case and the professor has the last laugh, and it’s nice to know that sometimes logic prevails.
via the Huffington Post‘s Greg Lukianoff:
Schmidt, an art and animation professor, posted a picture of his young daughter wearing a T-shirt with the Game of Thrones quote, “I will take what is mine with fire & blood” to Google+, which automatically sent an email of the picture to his Google+ contacts, including a BCC dean.
The dean found this picture of a child doing yoga so terror-inducing that she reported him to other BCC administrators. (I have a hunch she wouldn’t do well watching a typical episode of Game of Thrones.) Exhibiting the same lack of common sense, BCC officials claimed that Schmidt posed a danger to the school community. Why? Believe it or not, the administrators argued that the “fire” mentioned on the T-shirt “could be a kind of proxy for ‘AK-47s.'” Schmidt was then placed on leave without pay until he agreed to undergo a psychiatric evaluation.
My organization, the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE), contacted Schmidt after the incident and got him top shelf legal representation. Now, months later, Schmidt’s free speech ordeal at BCC is finally over.
Here’s our update, posted this morning:
After learning of BCC’s outrageous actions, the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE) connected Professor Francis Schmidt with FIRE Legal Network member Derek Shaffer, a partner at the law firm Quinn Emanuel Urquhart & Sullivan, and Gabriel Soledad, an associate at the firm.
In a recent letter to Schmidt, BCC Director of Human Resources Patti Bonomolo acknowledged that the college “may have lacked basis” for punishing him and that doing so “potentially violated” his constitutional rights. “Lest there be any doubt, BCC recognizes and respects that you are free to exercise your constitutional rights, including your right to freedom of speech and expression, even to the extent that you may disparage BCC and/or its officials,” wrote Bonomolo.
So all’s well that ends well? In this case, yes. The professor’s record was cleaned and his rights were restored, and now there’s countless instances of this story appearing across the Internet. The lasting effect of the latter being the fools who made the initial error will for many, many years be reminded of their follies.