Students Protest Virginia Tech Instructor in Debate Over White Supremacy
It was just a few days after Charlottesville erupted in violence. Some 150 miles away, a student at Virginia Tech saw online posts that left her reeling. One began, “I am a white supremacist.” S
he alerted other students. And as word spread, so did efforts to force the university to fire a teaching assistant for statements he allegedly posted on social media — including some he says have been misunderstood, and one he denies making. Now, Virginia Tech and Blacksburg police are investigating threats made against the undergraduate who publicized the teaching assistant’s name.
At a time of heightened tensions over white supremacy and free-speech issues on campuses across the country, Virginia Tech has emerged as another flash point.
The debate raises questions about privacy, free speech and the ways that universities function as communities. At issue is whether opinions expressed outside the classroom are protected by the First Amendment, or whether there are views so offensive that schools should not tolerate them.