Ferris State University: Professor Suspended and Investigated for Video Jokingly Referring to Students as ‘Cocksuckers’ and ‘Vectors of Disease’

Category: Free Speech
Schools: Ferris State University

On January 9, 2022, Ferris State Professor Barry Mehler sent his students an introductory video welcoming them to class in which he discusses plagiarism by adapting a profanity-laced monologue from the television show “Deadwood,” jokes that students’ grades are predetermined by God, and encourages students to attend lectures virtually because of COVID-19. The video quickly went viral, and on January 11, Mehler was placed on leave pending an investigation for violating university policy. On January 17, FIRE wrote to Ferris State, explaining that faculty have the autonomy to determine how they convey pedagogically relevant material in the classroom — even by using humor and profanity.