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Ole Miss professor slammed on tweet gets tenure after debate

Trustees of Mississippi’s eight public universities are granting tenure to a University of Mississippi sociology professor who was criticized for encouraging “acts of aggression” against Republican politicians.

Trustees voted Thursday after earlier removing Professor James Michael Thomas’ name from a list of 76 routine approvals of tenure and discussing his case individually in a two-hour closed session.

Thomas was critical that he was singled out. He says professors shouldn’t face workplace consequences for political statements, citing academic freedom guidelines.

In October, as Brett Kavanaugh was confirmed to the U.S. Supreme Court, Thomas tweeted that protesters should confront senators in restaurants and elsewhere, saying “they don’t deserve your civility.”

Then-Ole Miss Chancellor Jeffrey Vitter on Facebook condemned “statements that encourage acts of aggression.” Republican Gov. Phil Bryant also condemned the statement.

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