A visiting professor in Florida has been “relieved of duties” after tweeting controversial comments about Hurricane Harvey victims.
Kenneth Storey, a University of Tampa visiting assistant professor of sociology, made comments on Twitter Sunday that suggested Texas was being punished by Harvey — and that Trump supporters and Republicans in the state “deserve” the havoc being wreaked by the massive storm.
Some Twitter users screenshotted the original tweets before Storey deleted his account.
When someone pushed back at Storey’s tweet, he replied: “Well, the good people there need to do more to stop the evil their state pushes. I’m only blaming those who support the GOP there.”
The same person again pushed back at Storey and asked if he thought the same about Trump supporters in Florida, to which Storey replied: “Yep, those who voted for him here deserve it as well.”
August 28, 2017
WOW! Professor at U of Tampa says GOP voters and Houston residents DESERVE #hurricaneharvey because of how they voted -- SICK!
In a Facebook post, the University of Tampa condemned Storey’s comments and expressed support for anyone impacted by Hurricane Harvey.
“The comments made by Kenneth Storey were made via his private social media account,” the UT statement said. “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.”
And Tuesday morning, UT released a statement that Storey was “relieved of his duties.”
“Storey has been relieved of his duties at UT, and his classes will be covered by other sociology faculty,” UT wrote. “As Floridians, we are well aware of the destruction and suffering associated with tropical weather. Our thoughts and prayers are with all impacted by Hurricane Harvey.”
Storey has since apologized and told ABC Action News his tweets were taken out of context.
“I was referring to the GOP denial of climate change science and push to decrease funds from agencies that can help in a time like this,” he said. “I hope all affected by the storm are safe and recover quickly. I also hope this helps the GOP realize the need to support climate change research and put in place better funding for agencies like NOAA and FEMA.”
Ramsey Touchberry is a University of Florida student and a USA TODAY College correspondent.