Mississippi governor condemns Ole Miss professor’s political tweet

JACKSON, Miss. — Mississippi Gov. Phil Bryant is condemning a professor’s Twitter post that encouraged people to disrupt senators’ meals the day Brett Kavanaugh was confirmed to the Supreme Court.

University of Mississippi sociology professor James Thomas tweeted Oct. 6 that people should put their fingers in senators’ salads and, “They don’t deserve your civility.”

Bryant, a Republican, tweeted in response Thursday: “This is troubling and disappointing to see from one of our university professors. There is no place in a civilized society, and particularly on a college campus, for urging individuals to harass anyone.”

Ole Miss Chancellor Jeffrey Vitter said Sunday on Facebook that the faculty member’s post “did not reflect the values articulated by the university, such as respect for the dignity of each individual and civility and fairness.”

“While I passionately support free speech, I condemn statements that encourage acts of aggression,” Vitter wrote.

In days leading to the Kavanaugh confirmation, opponents protested in Washington, some of them yelling at lawmakers.

Thomas on Oct. 6 was responding to MSNBC host Joe Scarborough, who tweeted that people should not yell at senators, shout at people in restaurants or “rage about past votes.”

Thomas wrote that he didn’t think many people were doing that. The professor tweeted, as if writing in a senator’s voice: ”‘Yes, I plan to take away your healthcare, but that’s no reason to interrupt me while I eat my meal at this restaurant you probably can’t afford….’”

In his next tweet, Thomas wrote: “Don’t just interrupt a Senator’s meal, y’all. Put your whole damn fingers in their salads.”