Find a list of your saved stories here

College clears professor whose online posts brought threats

Save Story

Save stories to read later

Estimated read time: 1-2 minutes

This archived news story is available only for your personal, non-commercial use. Information in the story may be outdated or superseded by additional information. Reading or replaying the story in its archived form does not constitute a republication of the story.

HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) — A black college professor whose social media posts about white supremacy led to threats that shut down the college's campus one day last month did not violate any of its policies, its president said Friday.

A review of the messages posted by Trinity College sociology professor Johnny Williams concluded that his online activity was protected by academic freedom.

Trinity president Joanne Berger-Sweeney has said Williams shared a piece from another writer that concluded with a call to show indifference to the lives of bigots. Williams has said his posts were twisted to sound as though they referred to last month's Virginia congressional shooting, in which a gunman opened fire at a baseball practice, badly wounding House Majority Whip Steve Scalise, a Republican.

Berger-Sweeney, in a statement on Friday, said she does not condone the professor's posts but supports his right to express his opinions. She said the most intense public reaction was fueled by incorrect reports about what he actually said.

The harassment faced by the professor and by Trinity, a private liberal arts college in Hartford, has become "troublingly common" for people of color and those who speak out on racial issues, she said.

"These attacks against free speech have happened at numerous other colleges and universities," she said. "In a country more deeply divided than ever, especially on issues of race, we must be able to speak openly without fear of intimidation or violence."

Williams will be on leave through the fall semester to allow distance from the controversy, she said.

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Most recent U.S. stories

Related topics

The Associated Press


    Catch up on the top news and features from, sent weekly.
    By subscribing, you acknowledge and agree to's Terms of Use and Privacy Policy.

    KSL Weather Forecast