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Drexel University professor George Ciccariello-Maher was put on administrative leave after a series of controversial tweets. Drexel said the decision was made to protect both “his safety and the safety of Drexel’s community.

Ciccariello-Maher, an associate professor of politics and global studies, tweeted last December, “All I want for Christmas is white genocide,” causing a viral uproar. Drexel administrators condemned the tweet, but did not make any move to fire Ciccariello-Maher. 

“‘White genocide' is an idea invented by white supremacists … It is a figment of the racist imagination, it should be mocked, and I'm glad to have mocked it," Ciccariello-Maher wrote after the incident.

More recently, Ciccariello-Maher tweeted on the Las Vegas shooting, causing further controversy. Ciccariello-Maher said he blamed “Trumpism” and “white supremacy” for the shooting, which left 58 dead and 546 injured. This led to threatening emails and phone calls directed both at him and the university. 

On Oct 10, Ciccariello-Maher wrote a column for The Washington Post, stating that his tweets were “neither provocative in tone nor controversial in content.” 

“More and more, professors like me are being targeted by a coordinated right-wing campaign to undermine our academic freedom,” wrote Ciccariello-Maher, “one that relies on misrepresentation and sometimes outright lying, and often puts us and our students in danger.” 

Drexel has not yet announced whether his administrative leave will be reversed, but Ciccariello-Maher remains hopeful. 

“I am optimistic that this decision — harmful to myself and to my students — will be reversed,” wrote Ciccariello-Maher.

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