- The Washington Times - Friday, January 10, 2020

Asheen Phansey, an adjunct professor and director of sustainability at Babson College in Massachusetts, lost his job Thursday over a Facebook post inspired by President Trump threatening to strike Iranian cultural sites.

Mr. Trump made the threat on Twitter last week, saying his administration had targeted 52 sites “important to Iran & the Iranian culture” to be potentially attacked by the U.S.

“In retaliation, Ayatollah Khomenei [sic] should tweet a list of 52 sites of beloved American cultural heritage that he would bomb,” Mr. Phansey posted Tuesday on Facebook. “Um… Mall of America? Kardashian residence?”

Mr. Phansey, who received his MBA from Babson in 2008, subsequently deleted the Facebook post and swiftly apologized over what he called “a bad attempt at humor.”

“I am completely opposed to violence and would never advocate it by anyone,” he said in a statement Wednesday, the Boston Herald reported. “I am sorry that my sloppy humor was read as a threat. I condemn all acts of violence. I am particularly sorry to cause any harm or alarm for my colleagues at Babson, my beloved alma mater.”

Without identifying Mr. Phansey by name, Babson said it launched a “prompt and thorough investigation” into a Facebook posting this week that ultimately culminated in cutting ties with the staff member who shared it, the college said in a statement Thursday.

Babson College condemns any type of threatening words and/or actions condoning violence and/or hate,” the statement said.

Mr. Phansey has since released a statement of his own that said he is “disappointed and saddened” by the school’s decision, local outlets reported Thursday evening.

“I would have hoped that Babson, an institution of higher education that I love and to which I have given a great deal, would have defended and supported my right to free speech,” he said in the statement.

“Beyond my own situation, I am really concerned about what this portends for our ability as Americans to engage in political discourse without presuming the worst about each other,” he added.

Mr. Trump had threatened to attack unspecified cultural sites last week amid tensions worsening between the U.S. and Iran. He has since walked back the remark amid facing criticism for suggesting what would amount to a war crime.

Mr. Phansey had been an adjunct professor at Babson for 11 years and a director of sustainability at the college since February, according to his Linkedin profile.

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