Gilbert addresses controversial tweet at faculty senate meeting

President Jerome Gilbert addressed a controversial social media post at the Marshall University Faculty Senate meeting Thursday.

When the results of the election were coming in Tuesday, Nov. 8, a student posted a tweet about President-elect Donald Trump. The next day, University Communications released a statement from Gilbert concerning the tweet.

During the faculty senate meeting, Gilbert said the language expressed by the student was “vulgar, inappropriate and reprehensible.”

“[The tweet] was not in line with the university’s values,” Gilbert said.

Gilbert continued, saying the tweet had been deleted and the university handled the issue.

“Action was taken for that individual, and I think it was appropriate,” Gilbert said. “I can tell you that the student was remorseful, thought he had done a dumb thing and wished it had never happened.”

Members of the faculty thanked Gilbert for his speedy response to the situation and praised him for setting a good example for the university.

“We will not censor people on this campus, but when people say things that are offensive, I’ll call them out on it,” Gilbert said. “I can’t tell them they can’t say it, but I’ll let them know what I think of it.”

Gilbert also said he hopes this situation sparks good discussions in the classroom about civil discourse.

“It’s just like Martin Luther King Jr. said, ‘Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that,’” Gilbert said. “You respond to offense with civil language, not more hatred.”

Gilbert used the situation to communicate his interest in getting to know the faculty more. He said he wants to “discuss more of the issues, like faculty raises and figuring out equity issues.”

“I know what you have to do,” Gilbert said. “I’ve been a faculty member; you work hard.”

Brooke Estep can be contacted at [email protected].