An Iowa professor who publicly affirmed his involvement with the militant leftist collective “antifa” has resigned over safety concerns, the school said Friday.
Jeff Klinzman, an adjunct English professor at Kirkwood Community College in Cedar Rapids, told local ABC affiliate KCRG last week, “I affirm that I am antifa.”
He made the declaration after the news station dug up multiple posts from his personal Facebook page and the Facebook page for “Iowa Antifa,” where he said he wanted to “clock” President Trump with a baseball bat and had a “desire to exact revenge” on evangelical Christians.
The Secret Service told KCRG that they were aware of Mr. Klinzman’s posts but would not confirm whether they had opened an investigation.
Kirkwood President Lori Sundberg issued a statement Friday saying the school had accepted Mr. Klinzman’s resignation, citing “the safety of our students, faculty and staff as our top concern.”
“Our decision to remove Mr. Klinzman from the classroom has nothing to do with the substance of his views or his right to express them,” Ms. Sundberg wrote. “Rather, our decision is based solely on our commitment to fostering a safe learning environment for our students, faculty and staff.
“I also want to be clear that Kirkwood Community College fully supports Mr. Klinzman’s right to articulate his views in whatever forum he chooses,” she continued. “This action does not in any way prevent him from continuing to engage in the expression of free speech. However, when the expression of views by him or any member of our community is perceived as placing public safety in jeopardy, or hampers our ability to deliver on our mission, we will always do what is necessary in service to our students’ pursuit of a higher education.”
Ms. Sundberg also said the school would be beefing up security starting Monday and that authorities were working to “develop and implement a safety plan.”
When contacted by KCRG last week, Mr. Klinzman stood by his initial comments but said he would be willing to apologize to any Christians he offended who also shared his political outlook. He later further clarified that he never carried weapons at any “anti-fascist action” that he took part in.
Antifa, short for anti-fascist, is a movement where members are known for wearing black face-masks and using rioting, destruction of property and physical force against political opponents or anyone they perceive as racist or a white nationalist, including Trump supporters, conservatives and free speech advocates. The president has threatened to designate it as a domestic terrorist organization.