Profane Professor in Helmet Gets Suspension

A profanity laced class introduction on video from a Michigan professor went viral when he called his students “vectors of disease.”

Barry Mehler, a Ferris State University professor, opened the video for the class introduction wearing a space-style helmet, repeatedly used the “f” word, and told his students that their grades were already pre-determined. He told them he didn’t care if they complained because he was tenured and was planning to retire at the end of the year.

“I will not take questions in class because I’m wearing this” helmet “in order to stay alive,” Professor Mehler, 74, says toward the end of the video, using an expletive. “So please, come to class. Enjoy the show. I’ll be there regularly because I have no choice.”

Mehler Told Students, ‘None of You C********** Are Good Enough to Earn an A’

Charles Bacon, the president of the Ferris Faculty Association, said in a statement on Saturday that the university’s response to the video was “intimidation and coercion directed at all faculty, not just Dr. Mehler.” He added that the association considered the suspension to be an “attack on academic freedom” that suppressed intellectual discourse.

Bacon said that Mehler’s courses “are very popular, in particular because he challenges students’ assumptions and makes the class extremely interesting.”

“In fact,” Mr. Bacon said, “I am told that we have had administrators visit his class and come away with statements like, ‘I wish I’d had a professor like you when I was in college.’”

Some students were defending Mehler, saying that he tries to inject humor into his courses.

“He has his own way of teaching,” says Aaron Wisner. “And he’s vulgar about it. But ultimately, it’s his way of keeping everybody’s attention.”

Mehler “shocked and appalled” the President of the university who said it did not reflect the values of the university. Mehler was put on administrative leave while an investigation is underway.

NYT, Heavy