Babson College is facing claims of censorship after firing a professor who suggested Iran respond in kind to President Trump's threat to target Iranian cultural sites. Asheen Phansey, director of sustainability at the private college in Wellesley, Mass., says he was only making a joke Tuesday when he wrote on Facebook that Iran's supreme leader should "tweet a list of 52 sites of beloved American cultural heritage that he would bomb. Um… Mall of America? Kardashian residence?" The college announced Phansey was no longer an employee in a Thursday statement, which said the post wasn't reflective of its "values and culture," per the Boston Herald. Babson "condemns any type of threatening words and/or actions condoning violence and/or hate," the statement read. The Foundation for Individual Rights in Education calls it "censorship, plain and simple."
"The professor's post is obvious rhetorical hyperbole and cannot reasonably be read as a threat, incitement, or even a sincere endorsement of violence," a rep said Thursday, per the Herald. Phansey said he was "disappointed and saddened" as he'd hoped "an institution of higher education that I love and to which I have given a great deal, would have defended and supported my right to free speech." Instead, "Babson has decided to abruptly terminate my 15-year relationship with the college just because people willfully misinterpreted a joke I made to my friends on Facebook," he said, per CBS Boston. Phansey had apologized for his "bad attempt at humor" in a Wednesday statement, saying he "was trying to juxtapose our 'cultural sites' with ancient Iranian churches and mosques," per the New York Post. "I condemn all acts of violence," he added. (More professor stories.)