Photo courtesy of Black Enterprise
By Franchetta Groves
An adjunct assistant professor for the Busch School of Business, John Tieso was suspended after three racially charged tweets were brought to light. A student sent an anonymous letter to the dean of the business school, Andrew V. Abela, addressing tweets from John Tieso.
The first tweet was in response to a retweet of former President Barack Obama saying, “That’s the Obama we all came to know and hate. Incredibly incompetent and vain. Perhaps he might consider staying in Africa and giving all his money to his people.”
Another tweet which has been brought into question, and has since been deleted, referred to Senator Kamala Harris (D-CA) as a “former escort.” When asked about it, Tieso claimed that he had recently deleted his twitter account after having conversations with Catholic University officials. The details of the third tweet have not been released.
The Catholic University of America follows a social media policy which states that employees should use disclaimer language in personal posts. Tieso was in violation of this policy as his Twitter biography did not disclose that his opinions did not reflect those of his employer. Shortly after being contacted by the administration, Tieso deleted his Twitter account.
“We take allegations of racially-charged speech on campus to be matters of serious concern, and we encourage those students who have been made to feel unsafe or uncomfortable due to racially-charged speech to come forward and make a report,” said a university spokesperson to WUSA9. “We want to hear from you and address your concerns. We have reporting measures in place for our community to safely report any type of ethical misconduct.”
The University contacted Tieso and informed him that his summer classes would be postponed to a later session and that the university would be conducting an investigation.
Photo courtesy of WUSA9
When Tieso was questioned about the tweets by WSUA9 he responded by saying, “I know nothing about [it],” and that he was the victim of a “biased witch hunt”.
“I love the school and the students,” Tieso said. “I’ve had Catholics, Protestants, Jews, and Muslims and I’ve treated them the same. They are my students.”
He has also taken to his LinkedIn profile to defend himself against the accusations of racism.
Some students have voiced that they found the tweets to be “inappropriate”. Students, when asked by WUSA9 about Tieso’s interactions with students of color, claimed that he has always been respectful. Other students however see the Busch school’s reaction as the only appropriate response.
“I applaud and appreciate the Busch School and the administration’s handling of the professor’s racist remarks,” said sophomore business major Andrew Green. “I also want to bring to light the Busch School’s continued communication with their students and willingness to act on their concerns.”