University of Tennessee investigating law professor’s controversial tweet about Charlotte protest

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KNOXVILLE (WATE) – The Dean for the University of Tennessee College of Law said she is investigating a controversial tweet by UT Professor of Law and USA Today columnist Glenn Reynolds.

Reynolds, who posts under the handle @instapundit on Twitter, tweeted “Run them down,” with a link to a live video stream of demonstrators stopping traffic on I-277 during protests in Charlotte. Violent protesters rampaged through parts of downtown Charlotte as anger continued to build over the deadly police shooting of a black man and the wildly different stories about what happened from authorities and the victim’s family and neighbors.

The tweet was sent at around 8 p.m. and received criticism from those on Twitter. Some users called for Reynolds to be fired.

Reynolds defended the tweet, posting a response on his blog saying, “sorry, blocking the interstate is dangerous, and trapping people in their cars is a threat. Driving on is self-preservation, especially when we’ve had mobs destroying property and injuring and killing people. But if Twitter doesn’t like me, I’m happy to stop providing them with free content.” He said he planned on deleting his Twitter account after the incident.

Accounts get suspended on Twitter every day, but several people claimed Twitter suspended Reynolds account because he was a conservative.

Thursday morning, Twitter unblocked Reynolds account on the condition that he delete the offending tweet. Hours later, Melanie D. Wilson, University of Tennessee College of Law Dean said Reynolds comments do not reflect the views and opinions of the college and university and said administrators and faculty are investigating the matter.

“The university is committed to academic freedom, freedom of speech, and diverse viewpoints, all of which are important for an institution of higher education and the free exchange of ideas. My colleagues and I in the university’s leadership support peaceful civil disobedience and all forms of free speech, but we do not support violence or language that encourages violence,” said Wilson in a statement. “Professor Reynolds has built a significant platform to discuss his viewpoints, but his remarks on Twitter are an irresponsible use of his platform.”

Full statement from University of Tennessee College of Law Dean Melanie D. Wilson:

I am aware of the remarks made last night on Twitter by Professor Glenn Reynolds and of the serious and legitimate concerns expressed by members of the UT Law family and the University of Tennessee community, as well as concerned citizens across the country. Professor Reynolds’ comments do not reflect my views and opinions, nor do they reflect the values of the college and university.

University administrators, college faculty, and I are investigating this matter.

The university is committed to academic freedom, freedom of speech, and diverse viewpoints, all of which are important for an institution of higher education and the free exchange of ideas. My colleagues and I in the university’s leadership support peaceful civil disobedience and all forms of free speech, but we do not support violence or language that encourages violence.

Professor Reynolds has built a significant platform to discuss his viewpoints, but his remarks on Twitter are an irresponsible use of his platform.

The College of Law is committed to ensuring our students learn in a welcoming, open, and inclusive community in which they can successfully pursue their law degrees and become not only responsible lawyers, but also responsible global citizens who are able to competently represent people of all backgrounds.

Copyright 2021 Nexstar Media Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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