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A Drexel University professor said Thursday that he will resign due to the number of violent threats stemming from his numerous controversial tweets. George Ciccariello-Maher, an associate professor specializing in politics and global studies, said his “situation has become unsustainable” after dealing with months of targeted harassment.
"This is not a decision I take lightly; however, after nearly a year of harassment by right-wing, white supremacist media outlets and Internet mobs, after death threats and threats of violence directed against me and my family, my situation has become unsustainable," Ciccariello-Maher said in a statement posted on Twitter. "Staying at Drexel in the eye of this storm has become detrimental to my own writing, speaking, and organizing."
Drexel University said Ciccariello-Maher was resigning to "pursue other opportunities." The university “has accepted his resignation and recognizes the significant scholarly contributions that Professor Ciccariello-Maher has made to the field of political thought and his service to the Drexel University community as an outstanding classroom teacher," Drexel said in a statement Thursday. "Drexel University wishes Professor Ciccariello-Maher well in his future pursuits."
In December 2016, the professor tweeted, "All I want for Christmas is white genocide,” which went viral and sparked the controversy. Ciccariello-Maher told CNN that the tweet was meant in jest. It was a "satirical jab at a certain paranoid racist fantasy and that white genocide does not exist." Drexel did not see it that way, stating that the professor’s tweet was “deeply disturbing.”
Ciccariello-Maher, however, has doubled down. "In the past year, the forces of resurgent white supremacy have tasted blood and are howling for more,” Ciccariello-Maher continued, in his statement. “Given the pressure they will continue to apply, university communities must form a common front against the most reprehensible forces in society and refuse to bow to their pressure, intimidation, and threats. Only then will universities stand any chance of survival."