Kirkwood Community College: Professor Removed From Class Following Anti-Trump Facebook Post, Affiliation With Antifa

Category: Free Speech

In August 2019, President Trump tweeted that he was considering designating “ANTIFA, the gutless Radical Left Wack Jobs who go around hitting (only non-fighters) people over the heads with baseball bats, a major Organization of Terror.” Jeff Klinzman, then an adjunct English professor at Iowa’s Kirkwood Community College, posted a response on an “Iowa Antifa” Facebook page, using his personal Facebook account: “Yeah, I know who I’d clock with a bat…” When a local news outlet — which had also found a 2012 Facebook post in which Klinzman invoked an anti-Nazi’s exhortation to “kill them all, and bury them deep in the ground” to describe his opposition to evangelical Christian political and religious views — spoke to Klinzman, he responded: “I affirm that I am ‘antifa’.” After the story prompted national media attention, Kirkwood removed Klinzman from his class, placed him on leave, and asked him to resign, issuing a statement citing the need to protect student safety. On August 27, FIRE wrote to Kirkwood to explain why Klinzman’s comments were protected speech and the college’s response retaliatory.