After his violent declarations posted on social media came to light, a self-identified “Antifa” professor at a college in Cedar Rapids, Iowa resigned last week under pressure from the administration.
Jeff Klinzman, who has been teaching classes as an adjunct English professor at Kirkwood Community College since January 2010, became the subject of local reports after social media posts expressing his desire to hit President Trump with a baseball bat and for evangelical Christians to be murdered were exposed. In response, Klinzman admitted that he was a member of the violence-embracing group Antifa — which has been labeled a “domestic terrorist group” by some members of Congress — and resigned, a move the college made clear it encouraged.
On Thursday, Cedar Rapids ABC-affiliate KCRG reported on the alarming statements by Klinzman, who refused to participate in an interview, but did give them a statement via email: “I affirm that I am ‘antifa.'” Klinzman also made clear that he does not apologize for his past posts. KCRG provides a summary of some of the statements he’s made over the years, including quite recently:
On the Facebook page for “Iowa Antifa”, one can find a litany of far-left statements and conversations. One of them features a [July 27] tweet from President Donald Trump where he calls the group, “Radical Left Wack Jobs who go around hitting… people over the heads with baseball bats.” Professor Klinzman wrote in response, “Yeah, I know who I’d clock with a bat…” […]
A search through Klinzman’s Facebook page shows over the years he has also made statements expressing his desire to “stop evangelical Christians” where he included a poem that said, “Kill them all and bury them deep in the ground”. Klinzman went on to explain, “It’s not pretty, and I’m not proud, but seeing what evangelical Christians are doing to this county and its people fills me with rage, and a desire to exact revenge.”
KCRG notes that Secret Service would not confirm whether or not they are investigating Klinzman’s statement about Trump, though a local attorney suggested the comment was far too vague to constitute a real threat.
The outlet also looked into Kirkwood’s policies on professors joining groups that promote and engage in violence, like Antifa, and found nothing specific, though it did find a policy warning instructors that they “should show respect for the opinions of others.”
In a statement posted on the college’s website Friday, Kirkland President Lori Sundberg announced that the administration had replaced Klinzman with another professor and formally accepted his resignation.
“Kirkwood Community College leadership has been assessing this matter in recent days, especially its potential impact on our learning environment,” Sundberg’s statement reads. “With the safety of our students, faculty and staff as our top concern, we made the decision this morning to identify an instructor who will take over the one course that Mr. Klinzman was to have taught this semester. We have spoken with Mr. Klinzman this afternoon about this matter and have accepted his resignation.”
Sundberg goes on to defend the decision to terminate the radical professor’s contract.
“I understand that our decision to remove Mr. Klinzman from the classroom may be supported by some and criticized by others. I also understand that in today’s climate, some may use this decision to support broader arguments about free speech on college campuses. That’s why I want to be very clear with you the reasoning behind this decision,” she writes. “It is Kirkwood leadership’s assessment that the attention this matter has garnered has the potential to create an environment that is disruptive to our mission. 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. Rather, our decision is based solely on our commitment to fostering a safe learning environment for our students, faculty and staff.”
Sundberg underscores that the college “fully supports” the Klinzman’s right to express his views, and is not curbing that right by declining to further employ him, but maintains that his statements have undermined the safety and mission of the college. “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,” she explains.