In December 2016, Ciccariello-Maher, who was then a professor of politics and global studies, tweeted, “All I want for Christmas is white genocide,” drawing widespread backlash. In a Facebook post announcing his resignation, Ciccariello-Maher said that "death threats and threats of violence" against his family informed his decision to step down.
“Staying at Drexel in the eye of this storm has become detrimental to my own writing, speaking, and organizing,” he wrote in the post.
Drexel has responded publically to Ciccariello-Maher's tweet, immediately issuing a statement calling his remarks “utterly reprehensible” and “deeply disturbing.”
Last October, the university put Ciccariello-Maher on administrative leave to protect both “his safety and the safety of Drexel’s community.” The decision came after Ciccariello-Maher's controversial tweet that the Oct. 1 Las Vegas shooting, the deadliest mass shooting in United States history, was brought on by a "narrative of white victimization."
In an op-ed, Ciccariello-Maher said that he believed Drexel “sent the wrong signal” when they placed him on administrative leave. Ciccariello-Maher also wrote that he “will continue to challenge white supremacists in an effort to make Drexel and all universities safe space for an individual debate among equals.”
After the Drexel faculty criticized the university's decision to place him on leave, the terms of Ciccariello-Maher's administrative leave were modified so that he could teach his two scheduled courses online.
On Jan. 1, the former Drexel professor posted on Facebook that he will be starting a new position at New York University.
“I'm glad to announce that, starting today, I will be a Visiting Scholar at NYU's Hemispheric Institute of Performance and Politics. Happy New Year!” he wrote.
Drexel is not the only university dealing with controversial tweets from its teaching staff. In October 2017, Penn teaching assistant and history Ph.D. candidate Stephanie McKellop became the center of controversy after her progressive stacking practices in the classroom led some to accuse her of discriminating against her students.
“I will always call on my black women students first. Other POC get second tier priority. WW come next. And, if I have to, white men," McKellop wrote in a Twitter post.
McKellop will not be teaching next semester, tweeting that her leave was “standard practice” for a Ph.D. student. Aside from the Dean of the School of Arts and Sciences Stephen Fluharty's initial statement that the University was investigating McKellop's technique, the administration has not provided updates to any discplinary action against the TA.