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Facebook gives Ga. TA the boot after ‘white people’ remarks. Will UGA follow suit?

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Campus Reform
January 28, 2019

The University of Georgia teaching assistant who came under fire for his racially-charged statements about white people has been suspended from Facebook for 30 days, according to a recent post on Medium.

“My account is out for thirty days because of this,” Irami Osei-Frimpong wrote in a post on Saturday. He included a screenshot of a Jan. 22 Facebook post, which included the phrase, “some white people may have to die for black people to be free.” That statement is one that Osei-Frimpong has repeated as a familiar talking point and repeatedly defended on multiple platforms, including Facebook and Twitter. Osei-Frimpong’s Facebook page no longer includes the post he referenced Saturday on Medium.

Facebook did not respond to a request for comment from Campus Reform in time for publication.

But while Osei-Frimpong acknowledged that he has been suspended from Facebook for 30 days, the latest update from the University of Georgia is that it is exploring all legal options as far as how to respond to the teaching assistant’s controversial comments.

“The university has been vigorously exploring all available legal options. Racism has no place on our campus, and we condemn the advocacy or suggestion of violence in any form. We are seeking guidance from the Office of the Attorney General as to what actions we can legally consider in accordance with the First Amendment,” the university said in a Jan. 20 tweet.

Osei-Frimpong has made more racially-charged statements besides saying, “some white people may have to die…” In September, he compared white people to “autistic kids.” Two months later, he said that Democrats should “wage war” on “crappy” white people. More recently, Osei-Frimpong compared “white country” gun owners with “terrorists” and did not rule out violence against “oppressors,” whoever they may be.

Following many of these statements, UGA donor backlash led the college to reconsider its approach to Osei-Frimpong’s comments.

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But while UGA seems to be mulling Osei-Frimpong’s future employment status, at least one free speech organization is coming to his aid.

The Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE) sent a letter to UGA’s president, stating, “the First Amendment does not permit UGA to subject the expressive rights of faculty members or students to the whims of donors, students, or members of the public who find those views uncomfortable, objectionable, or deeply offensive. UGA has condemned the teaching assistant’s expression; the First Amendment prevents the institution from taking any further steps. Instead, UGA must immediately abandon its investigation into protected expression.”

UGA did not respond to a request for comment from Campus Reform in time for publication.

This article was posted: Monday, January 28, 2019 at 6:52 am

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