A controversial University of North Carolina, Wilmington, criminology professor has been found dead at his home days before he was due to retire. Mike Adams reached a settlement with the university last month and agreed to step down amid an uproar over tweets that were denounced as racist and misogynistic, BuzzFeed reports. Police say they found the 55-year-old's body Thursday afternoon after deputies were called to his home for a welfare check. The university says Adams, author of books including Feminists Say the Darndest Things: A Politically Incorrect Professor Confronts 'Womyn' on Campus, was due to retire with a $500,000 settlement on Aug. 1, CNN reports. The New Hanover County Sheriff's Office says the death investigation is ongoing.
Petitions urging the university to fire Adams had been circulating for years and gained many more signatures after a May 29 tweet in which he slammed NC Gov. Roy Cooper's lockdown measures. He said that after eating pizza and drinking beer with friends, "I almost felt like a free man who was not living in the slave state of North Carolina. Massa Cooper, let my people go!" In another tweet, he said universities should ditch subjects like Women's Studies instead of shutting down. Former colleague Tim Gill said Thursday that he found Adams' words "reprehensible," but he was disturbed to see people "celebrate this and gawk at the situation, as if it’s an episode of Law & Order," the News & Observer reports. "I'm still in shock, and I didn’t expect this," he tweeted. "I don’t think anyone did." (Read more University of North Carolina stories.)