Ferris State University proffesor on leave after claiming COVID is ‘leftist stunt’ to destroy civil liberties

A science professor has been put on administrative leave after claiming that coronavirus measures such as mask wearing and limiting gatherings are nothing more than a “leftist stunt to destroy civil liberties.”

Thomas Brennan, an assistant physical science professor in the College of Arts, Sciences and Education at Ferris State University in Michigan, also posted racist, anti-Semitic and homophobic slurs on Twitter, the university president David Eisler said in a statement Monday.



a group of people walking in front of a building: Ferris State University in Big Rapids, Mich.


© Carlos Osorio
Ferris State University in Big Rapids, Mich.

Ferris State University in Big Rapids, Mich. (Carlos Osorio/)

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“Individually and collectively we were shocked and outraged by these tweets,” Eisler said. “They are extremely offensive and run counter to the values of our University and our commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion. Our students, faculty, staff and members of the community are upset and offended by these comments, and they should be.”

In August he had disrupted a Zoom staff meeting, with comments in the chat sidebar, student newspaper The Torch reported.

“The pandemic and riots are a leftist stunt to overthrow the United States government and destroy our [civil] liberties,” he wrote, according to a screenshot obtained by The Torch.

After that meeting, Trinidy Williams, the interim dean of the College of Arts and Sciences, emailed faculty assuring them she was addressing the instance of “unprofessional behavior” that “undermined the gravity” of the COVID-19 pandemic, The Torch reported.

Other meeting attendees decried the sowing of misinformation and confusion, especially about a disease that has killed more than a quarter-million people in the U.S., nearly 8,500 of them in Michigan alone, where more than 300,000 people are infected, according to news site MLive.

Brennan didn’t stop there, according to The Torch. A Twitter account under his name calls COVID-19 a hoax and holds that only cowards wear masks. It calls COVID-19 an “attempt to turn us all into slaves” and proclaims, “Guess what, the COVID stunt has failed. You won’t get your leftist new world order.”

“I did say some hyperbolic things to draw attention to what it is I wanted to say,” Brennan told WZZM-TV.

That included using a racial epithet that he called “an atomic word” designed to make people listen.

“I didn’t use it lightly,” Brennan told WZZM. “But we’re heading toward such a crescendo of madness where we’re about to all be enslaved because of this COVID crisis.”

He insisted in a statement on his website that he does believe COVID is real but thinks its severity and the death count are exaggerated. He also said the 1969 moon landing was faked.

Masks?

“Putting a muzzle over our face is actually a dehumanizing and satanic ritual,” Brennan told the station.

Students were aghast, and the school put him on leave last Thursday, Eisler said, also launching an investigation.

“Our University was founded on the concept that education is for all of the people all of the time, that all people are welcome here,” Eisler said in his statement. “We strongly reject

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Ferris State professor on leave after COVID-19 comments

A professor at a Michigan university who referred to COVID-19 as a “stunt” to create a “leftist new world order” has been placed on administrative leave, the university announced Monday.

Thomas Brennan, a physical sciences assistant professor at Ferris State University, later doubled down on his COVID-19 comments and tweets, which also included racist, homophobic and anti-Semitic slurs.

“My statements were to the effect that I believe the COVID-19 pandemic is a stunt designed to enslave humanity and strip us of all of our rights and freedoms,” he wrote Monday.

Brennan’s comments were first reported last week by The Torch, Ferris State’s student newspaper. It reported that Brennan said in a Zoom meeting with staff members that he is a COVID-19 denier.

Tweets screenshotted by the school newspaper reveal Brennan referred to the virus as a “hoax,” “fake” and “another Jewish revolution.” He also mentioned various coronavirus conspiracies, which have no basis and have been proven false.

He said in his letter he does not believe the virus is a hoax, but he does feel “its severity is being exaggerated by revolutionary leftists in the media and government.”

There have been 12.4 million confirmed cases of the coronavirus in the United States and more than 314,000 in Michigan, according to Johns Hopkins University and the state health department data as of Nov. 24. More than 8,500 of the country’s 257,000 deaths were Michigan residents.

Brennan explained that his use of the N-word in some of his tweets was done as “a linguistic atom bomb” to get people’s attention, he said. After using the N-word and other slurs in his tweets, he wrote he is not racist against Black people and loves and respects Jews.

Cora Hall, a Ferris State senior who wrote the article for The Torch, said “there seem to be a lot of people who are upset,” according to WZZM.

Ferris State University president David Eisler said Brennan’s comments were “extremely offensive.”

“We strongly reject these statements, condemn them and will not tolerate them,” Eisler stated. “We have worked diligently to become a more diverse university, and these statements demonstrate vividly how one person can set back the work of many.”

The Board of Trustees also released a statement Monday, saying it supports the university’s decision to place Brennan on administrative leave.

“We take very seriously the health and safety of everyone in our campus community, and the university’s continual efforts to create a safe and healthy learning environment,” the Board of Trustees stated. “We also want to publicly express our profound disappointment with this person’s reported racist, anti-Semitic and homophobic slurs allegedly made on social media.”

Brennan, however, said he is a victim of “cancel culture.” He said he uses his Twitter account “as a hole to shout in.”

“It’s been my way of ‘poking the dragon,’” he wrote. “Until now, it’s gone unnoticed, but I have finally caught the attention of the ‘cancel culture. I knew this would eventually happen, and it’s fine that it’s happening

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Ferris State University professor on leave following controversial COVID-19 comments

Screenshots taken by The Torch show Brennan referring to COVID-19 as a “stunt” to create “a leftist new world order”.

BIG RAPIDS, Mich. — Ferris State professor Thomas Brennan is on administrative leave because of remarks made about COVID-19 on his Twitter account.

“I just have to speak out, to try to speak my conscience,” says Brennan. ‘I can’t be silent and watch this happen.”

Screenshots taken by The Torch show Brennan referring to COVID-19 as a “stunt” to create “a leftist new world order”.

“I did say some hyperbolic things to draw attention to what it is I wanted to say,” explains Brennan.

This includes using the n-word, which Brennan calls “an atomic word”, he used to make people listen.

“I didn’t use it lightly,” says Brennan. “But we’re heading towards such a crescendo of madness where we’re about to all be enslaved because of this COVID crisis.”

He does believe COVID-19 is real, however says masks and vaccines are created to control the masses.

“Putting a muzzle over our face is actually a dehumanizing and satanic ritual,” says Brennan.

“There seem to be a lot of people who are upset,” says FSU senior Cora Hall, who wrote about the tweets in an article for student newspaper The Torch.

Hall says comments like this from a professor impact all students on campus, especially those who have had COVID-19.

“It’s not an easy thing to go through, so I think that really hit home for a lot of students that there was someone at their university saying it wasn’t real,” says Hall.

In a statement, Ferris State said in part “we categorically reject any comments made regarding the validity or impact of COVID-19.”

“They are public figures and they are being held to a little bit of a higher standard when using social media and things like that,” says Hall. “I think they should be held accountable.”

Brennan wrote a statement explaining his comments and shared it to his website. 

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