Massachusetts – If there’s one thing ultra-liberal professors are known for in our American college system, it’s their abounding sense of humor. Especially when it comes to politics.
A recent example of this comes out of Babson College, a small school in Boston, Massachusetts. A 39-year-old adjunct professor, Asheen Phansey, was fired last week over what he says was meant to be a joke regarding his encouragement to Iran to attack American cultural sites.
Phansey also served as the school’s sustainability director. Clearly he was better at sustaining the environment than he was at sustaining his job.
On his personal Facebook page, Phansey posted in response to President Trump’s warning Iran against further hostile actions towards American citizens.
President Trump had posted on Twitter that should Iran retaliate against America, his administration had identified 52 sites important to Iranian culture that would be “hit very fast and very hard.” The number 52 represents the 52 American hostages taken in 1979 during the Iran Hostage Crisis.
Phansay posted, “In retaliation, Ayatollah Khomenei should tweet a list of 52 sites of beloved American cultural heritage that he would bomb. Um… Mall of America? Kardashian residence?”
After being met with criticism, Babson College placed Phansey on paid suspension pending investigation. The post, and Phansey’s entire social media accounts, have since been deleted. Nevertheless, the school said it condemns “any type of threatening words and/or actions condoning violence and/or hate. This particular post from a staff member on his personal Facebook page clearly does not represent the values and culture of Babson College.”
The school was said to be cooperating with local, state and federal authorities while they looked into the severity of the comments.
Phansey apologized for his tasteless post, saying, “I regret my bad attempt at humor. As an American, born and raised, I was trying to juxtapose our ‘cultural sites’ with ancient Iranian churches and mosques. I am completely opposed to violence and would never advocate it by anyone. I am sorry that my sloppy humor was read as a threat. I condemn all acts of violence.”
“I am particularly sorry to cause any harm or alarm for my colleagues at Babson, my beloved alma mater, and the place where I have enjoyed teaching students and serving as its sustainability director.”
The following day, Babson announced that Phansey was terminated for the comments.
The school released a statement saying, “Babson College conducted a prompt and thorough investigation related to a post shared on a staff member’s personal Facebook page that does not represent the values and culture of the College.
“Based on the results of the investigation, the staff member is no longer a Babson College employee. As we have previously stated, Babson College condemns any type of threatening words and/or actions condoning violence and/or hate.”
Phansey wasn’t pleased with the results of the school’s one-day “thorough” investigation, and commented, “I am disappointed and saddened that Babson has decided to abruptly terminate my 15-year relationship with the college just because people willfully misinterpreted a joke I made to my friends on Facebook.”
“I would have hoped that Babson, an institution of higher education that I love and to which I have given a great deal, would have defended and supported my right to free speech. Beyond my own situation, I am really concerned about what this portends for our ability as Americans to engage in political discourse without presuming the worst about each other.”
I don’t like what Phansey posted, at all. The comment was in bad taste, and very poorly worded, especially given the tense timing in which it was made.
However. It was pretty apparent that it was not meant as a threat or encouraging terrorist acts. He was making fun of the fact that so many Americans care more about a Kardashian empire than the history of the American empire. A terrible thing to say, but not a fireable offense and well within his first amendment rights.
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To be fair, Babson is a private college and as such does have the discretion to fire a faculty member over what would be a first amendment violation elsewhere.
This is America. Hundreds of thousands of men and women have died protecting Phansey’s right to say stupid things and crap on our American culture, reducing it to mindless shopping and the likes of a reality TV family, first made famous via one daughter’s sex tape.
The college was obviously attempting to avoid some type of lawsuit. They would have been justified in asking him to take down the posting, but that’s about it.
How ironic that celebrities can post comments and photos threatening the life of the United States President and nothing comes of it, but one small town professor can post something that’s not even a threat and he gets fired. Accountability, anyone?
Let’s dive further into the Iran Hostage Crisis. We’ve spent a considerable amount of time with Ken Kraus, the first American hostage is the Iran Crisis. His story is not for the faint of heart. And after his experience with Iran, he’s got a warning for the rest of us.
He was the first Marine Guard hostage in the Iran crisis. He was shot, tortured and sentenced to die. He was rescued… then went on to become a police officer.
And while everyone on Facebook seems to think they are an expert in foreign affairs (you know those college baristas are very worldly these days), this guy actually has some experience.
In February, 1979, Ken Kraus was working at the American Embassy in Iran. The incident that happened actually pre-dates what everyone knows as being the formal Iran hostage crisis.
(Above: Ken Kraus featured in video about his time in Iran.)
Kraus says they started hearing sustained machine gun fire, and then crackling over the radio.
“They’re coming over the wall, they’re coming over the wall. It took a few minutes to realize holy hell, we’re in a gunfight here, what the hell is going on?”
Kraus ended up being shot with his own gun after saving fellow Americans. He was then taken by the Iranians to an aid station.
In the middle of the night, insurgents came by, ripped the blood and IV from his arms, handcuffed and blinded him and then took him to a makeshift prison.
“For eight days, they kept me in a dungeon downstairs.”
Kraus, along with Iranian prisoners, were tortured over the course of the week. Then came time for his murder trial.
“I was put on trial for shooting Iranians, which we did – it was a firefight. When I came back to my cell, the other Iranians that were there, I seen a real lull come over everybody.
People just shook their heads, shoot their shoulders. I said I don’t understand. They said the council found you guilty. You’ll be shot.”
Kraus said a deep depression came over him.
“I thought, I wonder what it’s going to feel like for those bullets to rip into me.”
Minutes before Kraus was to be executed, a Red Cross representative came in and told Kraus his release had been negotiated.
“He said we have found a way to get you out of here. I stood up to hug him and I’ve never hugged a man so hard in my life and I just broke down crying. I said, ‘I’m not going to die today’ and he said, ‘not today’”.
Kraus went on to become a police officer and served in the Atlanta area for decades after that.
(Above: Ken Kraus shares more details about his experience in Iran on “Behind the Uniforms”.)
He said the lessons he learned as a hostage and then as a police officer set him up for a lifetime of serving and protecting others.
“There’s three things. You have to be physically prepared, you have to be mentally prepared and I believe you have to be spiritually prepared.”
That preparedness, he says, is desperately important for what’s happening in America.
“To me there’s nowhere better in the world to live. There’s no better people to be around. We feed half the world, we support half the world, we are the freedom, the light and the beacon for everybody.
And if that has to be defended with my blood and my sweat, it’s worth it, and I will stand shoulder to shoulder with my brothers and my sisters in the street to do it.”
Now he believes the day might rapidly be coming where we’ll find ourselves in exactly that situation. But he is concerned that his fellow Americans are siding with the enemy.
Dear #Iran, The USA has disrespected your country, your flag, your people. 52% of us humbly apologize. We want peace with your nation. We are being held hostage by a terrorist regime. We do not know how to escape. Please do not kill us. #Soleimani pic.twitter.com/YE54CqGCdr
— rose mcgowan (@rosemcgowan) January 3, 2020
Kraus was fuming mad when McGowan came out publicly in support of Iran.
“It is precisely because of people like myself, dedicated American military service members, law enforcement officers, and first responders, that have fought, sweated, bled and sacrificed the most sacred things in their lives, so that you would have the freedom to speak your mind in a nation of people that totally disagree with you,” he said.
He pointed out the ridiculous irony of her support for Iran.
“You know as well as I do that you would not dare speak the hateful, misguided, ungrateful words about the regime in Iran, if you were there. They would NOT tolerate you. They would punish you severely, if not straight out kill you – you and your family.
I have witnessed exactly that in that country. And the world has been recipients of Iran’s non-tolerance, unwillingness to coexist peacefully with those they disagree with and unmitigated barbaric violence for over 40 years.”
He said her words are that of an enemy.
“Just stop and think for a moment how cruel your hateful words are towards all those who have sacrificed for this nation. Try to realize how your misplaced anger emboldens the enemies of this great nation of wonderful people and endangers Americans all over the world. Ironic that you would be so reckless with the lives of the very people who protect you.”
He said she – and anyone else joining in her “peaceful protests” should get the hell out of America.
“Please feel free to leave this great land and join the ranks of our enemies in Iran and similar regimes, because someday in the future, your recklessness will have a price tag put upon it here in America. And you are not prepared to pay it.”
Kraus said Americans need to be prepared not just for war overseas, but the very real threat of the war coming here. Just as many states like Virginia, California and New York are rapidly trying to disarm citizens.
“The day is rapidly approaching where you’ll need to decide – are you for America, or are you for the destruction of everything we stand for as a country?”