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U. of Tampa Fires Professor Who Called Hurricane Harvey ‘Karma’ for Texas

Updated (8/29/2017, 12:15 p.m.) with news that the professor was not only criticized but also fired. Further updated (5:10 p.m.) with a statement from FIRE.

A University of Tampa professor was fired on Tuesday after calling Hurricane Harvey “karma” for Texas’ voting Republican, the university said on Facebook.

Kenneth Storey, a visiting assistant professor of sociology specializing in urban issues, tweeted, “I dont believe in instant karma but this kinda feels like it for Texas. Hopefully this will help them realize the GOP doesnt care about them,” according to a report from the Tampa Bay Times.

The Foundation for Individual Rights in Education is in contact with Mr. Storey and is investigating his dismissal.

“While the University of Tampa is a private institution, it promises its faculty freedom of expression,” said Ari Cohn, a FIRE spokesman, in a statement Tuesday. “Private institutions cannot make promises to students and faculty only to abandon them when convenient.”

The university’s directory entry for Mr. Storey was unavailable as of Tuesday morning.

Mr. Storey posted an apology on Monday, saying, “I deeply regret a statement I posted yesterday. I never meant to wish ill will upon any group. I hope all affected by Harvey recover quickly.” Mr. Storey’s Twitter account has since been made private.

On Facebook on Monday, the university condemned Mr. Storey’s statement, saying, “The comments made by Kenneth Storey were made via his private social-media account. They were not made within his capacity as a faculty member, and they don’t represent the university’s views. The University of Tampa condemns these comments and the sentiment behind them.”

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