NYU Hires Professor Who Said 'Narrative of White Victimization' Was Behind Vegas Shooting

Drexel professor resigned after being suspended and investigated for comments

George Ciccariello-Maher
George Ciccariello-Maher
January 2, 2018

The Drexel University professor who said "the narrative of white victimization" was behind the Las Vegas mass shooting has resigned after being suspended and investigated for those comments, and has taken a position with the prestigious New York University.

George Ciccariello-Maher left his tenured post last week as an associate professor of politics and global studies to begin a visiting scholarship at NYU's Hemispheric Institute of Performance and Politics, he announced on social media.

Ciccariello-Maher wrote on his personal Facebook page Thursday, "After nearly a year of harassment by right-wing, white supremacist media outlets and internet mobs, after death threats and threats of violence directed against me and my family, my situation has become unsustainable. Staying at Drexel in the eye of this storm has become detrimental to my own writing, speaking, and organizing."

Ciccariello-Maher went on to warn, "We are at war, and academia is a crucial front in that war."

"Right is targeting campuses with thinly veiled provocations disguised as free speech," he continued. "My case and many others show just how cynical such appeals are, and how little the Right cares about academic freedom."

"In the past year, the forces of resurgent white supremacy have tasted blood and are howling for more," wrote Ciccariello-Maher. "Given the pressure they will continue to apply, university communities must form a common front against the most reprehensible forces in society and refuse to bow to their pressure, intimidation, and threats. Only then will universities stand any chance of survival."

The Philadelphia-based Drexel issued a statement the same day as Ciccariello-Maher's resignation that called him "an outstanding classroom teacher," who made "significant scholarly contributions … to the field of political thought."

Ciccariello-Maher posted a series of tweets on Oct. 2 blaming whiteness for the Nevada shooting that left 58 dead and 546 injured.

"White people and men are told that they are entitled to everything," he wrote at the time. "This is what happens when they don't get what they want."

Drexel launched an investigation into Ciccariello-Maher's tweets and placed him on administrative leave, though it claimed the professor was banned from campus for his own safety, as he had received death threats. The suspension was criticized by the American Association of University Professors as "problematic."

Ciccariello-Maher's tweets first gained media attention for his post in winter 2016 that read, "All I want for Christmas is white genocide."

Earlier this year he was again the focus of outrage when he tweeted his disgust at seeing a passenger on a plane give up his seat for a soldier, writing, "Some guy gave up his first class seat for a uniformed soldier. People are thanking him. I'm trying not to vomit or yell about Mosul."

Ciccariello-Maher's new employer, the Hemispheric Institute, is a 20-year-old "collaborative, multilingual, and interdisciplinary consortium…working at the intersection of scholarship, artistic expression, and politics," according to its Facebook page. The organization "explores embodied practice—performance—as a vehicle for the creation of new meaning and the transmission of cultural values, memory, and identity."

The institute supports 60 member universities and affiliated cultural centers in publishing social justice-focused, anti-colonial content, and convenes biennial conferences, according to the site.

The institute did not respond to questions about its relationship with Ciccariello-Maher and what work he would be doing there.

Ciccariello-Maher did not immediately respond to request for comment.