Professor Quits After Posing as Female Immigrant on Twitter

Mike Blake | Reuters

A white, male University of New Hampshire chemistry professor has resigned after being accused of posing as a female immigrant of color on Twitter to make racist and sexist comments.

The university, which has not named the professor and described the person only as a faculty member, confirmed the resignation Friday after a four-month investigation.

University President James Dean Jr. sent a letter to the community Wednesday announcing the person had resigned, a spokesperson said. The letter did not release details of the investigation.

“While we are limited in what we can say in order to protect the privacy of all involved, we can share that the faculty member chose to resign when the university concluded that the conduct exhibited was not consistent with the university’s values and our expectation that every faculty member contribute to a professional academic environment free of intimidation and harassment,” Dean wrote.

The chair of the university’s chemistry department, Glen Miller, did not respond to a request for comment Friday.

But in an October email previously obtained by The Associated Press, Miller used the white, male professor's first name and acknowledged the professor had set up a Twitter account as an impostor with tweets that ranged from “unfortunate to hurtful to deeply offensive.”

Emails seeking comment that were sent to the university email account believed to be the professor's were not returned but did not bounce back, and a phone number for him could not be found.

Several people who reviewed the account before it was taken down late last year said it routinely contained racist, sexist and transphobic comments and images.

The person behind the account also detailed fighting efforts from an unnamed police department to speak out on racial injustice following the police killing of George Floyd. The person also routinely mentioned a fake background to criticize users who were pushing for greater diversity in science, mathematics, engineering and technology.

Several people also accused the user of attacking mostly women of color who disagreed and encouraging his followers to do the same.

Toby SantaMaria, a graduate student studying plant biology at Michigan State who identifies with the gender-neutral term Latinx and was attacked online by followers of the Twitter account, welcomed the professor's resignation.

“Pretending to be a woman on the internet explicitly to bully, shame, harass, and create toxic spaces against POC deserves heavy consequences," they said in an email interview, referring to people of color. "It deserves heavy consequences because it shows a deep seated bias against historically excluded groups. If you are a professor, teaching POC, that kind of racism and misogyny is unacceptable.”

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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