University of Alabama at Birmingham: Administration ‘Reviewing’ Professor’s Tweet After Rush Limbaugh’s Death

Category: Free Speech
Schools: University of Alabama at Birmingham

Following talk radio host Rush Limbaugh’s death from complications of lung cancer on February 17, 2021, Sarah Parcak, a University of Alabama at Birmingham professor, tweeted from her personal account: “When a terrible piece of scum who caused immeasurable harm to millions dies, there is no sympathy. Only a desire that they suffered [sic] until their last breath.” After the tweet attracted negative attention, UAB’s president issued a public statement condemning it and adding that the university was “reviewing the matter.” On February 19, FIRE wrote to UAB seeking clarification that it would not investigate or punish Parcak for her extramural expression, explaining that it is protected by the First Amendment. On February 23, UAB emailed the student body to say that while Parcak’s tweet is counter to the university’s values, UAB “recognizes individuals’ constitutionally protected rights to free speech.”