ORLANDO, Fla. — For a third day, demonstrators gathered on UCF’s main campus Sunday to call for the firing of a psychology professor who recently posted tweets that they and others said were racist and supportive of white supremacist ideals.
Most of the demonstrators out on campus Sunday were UCF students. Some even had Dr. Charles Negy as a teacher.
All of them were angry that UCF is still looking into this and has not made a decision yet.
This all began after Negy posted a stream of tweets following the murder of George Floyd while in the custody of Minneapolis police officers on May 25.
Many students and faculty said those tweets suggest that Negy was expressing racism against whites, racism in general, support of white supremacy, and sarcasm regarding rioting.
UCF President Alexander Cartwright came out Sunday and addressed the protesters. He said the university's investigators planned to speak to as many of the demonstrators who participated in the protest Sunday as possible.
Protesters said they plan to continue with their efforts until the university makes a decision regarding Negy's future at UCF.
Negy issued a statement to Spectrum News Sunday addressing the subject he teaches, what he’s been trying to do, and why he believes UCF needs to be reminded of what the purpose of a university is. We have posted the full statement below:
I teach a course in which I pose difficult and polemic questions about cultural and racial matters. in that course, we critically examine Whites, Hispanics, African Americans, Native Americans and Arabs/Muslims. Most of what I cover is "neutral," but I do reserve a section at the end of each group where I address challenges or problems that disproportionately affect the group being discussed. No matter how gentle I try to address some of those challenges, people from all groups, including Whites, occasionally are offended. But UCF is a university. It's not a social gathering. The purpose of a university is to explore and debate ideas--even ideas that make some people uncomfortable; even ideas that some people find offensive.
Twitter is a different ball game. You only have a few lines to raise questions, reply to someone else's tweet, or "debate" someone. There's minimal ability to say things in a sensitive way, or elaborate on one's comments with context. I could have worded, perhaps, my controversial tweets differently, but there remains legitimate points embedded in those tweets. Not to mention, my personal twitter account is my business, not UCF's.
UCF needs to be reminded about what the purpose of a university is. It's a place where the free exchange of ideas can occur to try and get at some level of truth (the best we can), and that must entail freedom of speech and academic freedom. As we're all aware, there are individuals and entire social groups who only want their "voices" or perspectives to be heard. And if you do not align yourself with their ideology, they will endeavor to annihilate you. That is the antithesis of a university.