University Probes Professor's Comments About Ann Romney, GOP

Wednesday, 04 Sep 2013 03:52 PM

By Todd Beamon

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Michigan State University said on Wednesday it is investigating a video that appears to show a creative writing professor making disparaging remarks about Ann Romney, the wife of 2012 Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney.

The professor, identified by the watchdog group Campus Reform as William Penn, also told his class that Republicans were "dying white people" who "raped this country" and wanted to prevent African Americans from voting.

The eight-minute video, which was secretly made by a student on the first day of class on Aug. 29, was reported by Fox News.

The student, identified by Fox as a sophomore political science major who asked not to be named, gave the video to Campus Reform.

"MSU is thankful we’ve been made aware of the situation," university spokesman Kent Cassella told Fox. "We will be looking into it."

According to Penn's online biography, he teaches in Michigan State's creative writing program and is a founding member of the Native American Writer’s Circle, Fox reports.

"Ann Romney a first lady?" Penn is heard asking in the video, before claiming that Mitt Romney had hid his wealth in offshore accounts.

"Anybody here want to be Mitt Romney?" Penn added. "Him? I mean, married to her?"

More broadly, Penn was recorded as saying: "If you go to the Republican convention in Florida, you see all of the old Republicans with the dead skin cells washing off them.

"They are cheap. They don't want to pay taxes because they have already raped this country and gotten everything out of it they possibly could."

He also is heard accusing the GOP of devising a plan for "getting black people not to vote."

"They don't want to pay for your tuition because who are you?" he asked. "Well, to me you are somebody."

He, further, is heard issuing a veiled threat to students.

"I’m a college professor," Penn said. "If I find out you are a closet racist, I am coming after you."

He added that the country is "still full of closet racists," Fox reports.

"What do you think is going on in South Carolina and North Carolina? Voter suppression. It's about getting black people not to vote. Why? Because black people tend to vote Democratic.

"Why would Republicans want to do it?" Penn purportedly asked. "Because Republicans are not a majority in this country anymore. They are a bunch of dead white people."

Cassella said Michigan State is taking the matter seriously.

"At MSU, it is important the classroom environment is conducive to a free exchange of ideas and is respectful of the opinions of others," he said.

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