ORLANDO, Fla. – Weeks after a University of Central Florida professor tweeted “black privilege is real” and a series of other racial statements, football players at the school called out the professor on social media this week and asked for his removal from the university.
Charles Negy, an associate professor of psychology at UCF, shared an opinion editorial post from a blog called Taki’s Magazine. According to the website, its operators “believe political labels such as conservative and liberal are as outdated as flared trousers and Nazis.”
In a tweet, Negy shared the link to the blog and wrote, “This article is spot on (will infuriate folks). Black privilege is real: Besides affirm. action, special scholarships and other set asides, being shielded from legitimate criticism is a privilege. But as a group, they’re missing out on much needed feedback.”
UCF running back Greg McRae spoke to News 6 about Negy’s comments.
“It’s just uncalled for. I don’t want to have to go to class and hear these things he projects onto students. For him to say certain things like that and stereotype us that way, I can’t find a better word, but it’s very disrespectful,” McRae said.
Responses to Negy’s tweet from UCF students and alumnus also called for Negy to step down and UCF to take action.
Other tweets posted by Negy reveal a history of divisive and racist language.
UCF quarterback McKenzie Milton spoke in support of McRae’s comments.
The university later responded to calls for Negy’s removal.
“Being actively anti-racist means calling out and confronting racist comments,” UCF posted in a tweet. “We are aware of Charles Negy’s recent personal Twitter posts, which are completely counter to UCF’s values. We are reviewing this matter further while being mindful of the First Amendment.”
In a recent statement to News 6, a UCF representative said:
“UCF’s leadership, including its president and provost, have repeatedly condemned the personal social media posts made by Dr. Negy as racist and not reflective of the university’s values. Earlier this month, the university launched an inquiry into complaints about Dr. Negy’s classroom behavior to determine whether personal bias was influencing behavior in any university setting. That process is ongoing.
“In the meantime, the university has opened up a second section of Dr. Negy’s current summer course with a different instructor. Students were given the choice to enroll in the same course with another professor or remain in Dr. Negy’s section.”
According to Negy’s Twitter account, he has a book that will be released soon that is focused on “white shaming.”
While his account also says his opinions are his own, News 6 has reached out to find out if his tweets violate UCF policy.
More than 30,000 people have signed a Change.org petition calling for the professor’s removal.
News 6 recently spoke to UCF professor of sociology, Dr. Jonathan Cox, who specializes in race studies.
“The tweet that you read also really highlights just some of the misnomers that people have with regards to minorities and their lives,” Cox said. “If you think of this idea of doing well in education, staying in school, etc... right? One, we know that black and brown people are significantly more likely to be in schools that are under-resourced, right? So they don’t have as good as teachers, they don’t have as much money .... so that’s already going to change things. Avoiding crime is really hard to do if you are in a situation of extreme or abject poverty.”
For the full interview with Cox, visit ClickOrlando.com/podcasts.
According to Cox, Negy has tenure at UCF and may not be fired for his actions.
Negy responded to News 6′s request for comment and his response can be read below in its entirety:
The University of Central Florida (UCF), as well as most U.S. universities, have failed in a huge way of providing incoming students an orientation to what the purpose is of a university. UCF is eager to show incoming students the new dorms, the latest technological gadgets on campus, the latest restaurants, their state of the art gymnasium, and so on.
They never once (ever) have a heart-to-heart talk with incoming students about the following:
--A university is not just an extension of high school. With K-12, school boards and parents dictate what topics can and cannot be broached. By contrast, at a university, all topics are open to discussion--even topics that make some students uncomfortable.
--free speech is the cornerstone of a free society. It allows us to challenge publicly things we think are not good for our society. This facilitates the betterment of societies. And hearing others' reactions to our views is a good thing because it causes us to re-evaluate our positions on matter--causing EVERYONE to arrive at a better conclusion.
--Vigorous and robust debates should be encouraged at a university. Everyone should have an opportunity to express their views and only the views that have logic, evidence or reason behind them will survive.
--There is no “right” to not be offended by others’ comments, or others’ points of view on matters. We can (ought to be permitted to) express our views, then listen to others who may see things differently, and then....each person is free to decide which ideas made the most sense based on, again, logic or evidence. This notion that U.S. universities have been fostering for decades now that students ought not to be offended has had consequences. This is why so many students think that the ideas I present in my courses--which almost always are grounded in data (or logic if no data exists)--with which they disagree are “offensive.” And they think the solution is to go complain to someone because they felt “offended.” And U.S. universities reinforce such misguided beliefs by attempting to silence--one way or another--any expressions that students find offensive. It is a travesty that so many faculty, especially in the social sciences and humanities--seem to share such misguided views about the purpose of a university and the misguided notion that no one should ever feel offended.
Now to your question about those athletes, with all due respect to them, I doubt any of them have had a course with me so they likely are just reacting to what they're read or heard from students who dislike my views. I (sincerely) invite them to come meet me and have a conversation with me about any matters that concern them.
Last for now, I've been studying culture, ethnicity, race, and racism for 30+ years. I have some data-driven opinions on many matters related to those topics. That doesn't mean my views are the correct ones and everyone has to uncritically accept my views. My data-driven views are open to debate, challenge, and discussion. Sadly, in the current atmosphere in the U.S. with so many young people failing to understand the main purpose of a university or the import of free speech and vigorous debate, they think if my views offend them the solution is to fire me. They don't fully understand the consequences of restricting other people's opinions or speech. If we allow that to happen, eventually, someone who takes offense with their views will endeavor to silence and/or punish them. Then and only then will they realize that their zealotry to silence those who offend them can go both ways.