Once again, someone learned the hard way that tweets have consequences.
A history professor at California State University Fresno who sent an inflammatory tweet about President Trump agreed with the school to take "a voluntary leave of absence" for the rest of the spring semester, effective immediately, the university announced Tuesday.
Professor Lars Maischak, 47, sent a tweet on Feb. 18 saying, "To save American democracy, Trump must hang. The sooner and the higher, the better." The tweet didn't attract much attention until the Breitbart News site posted a story about it on April 8, sparking outrage nationwide.
It's been a bumpy road for Maischak ever since.
The story touched a nerve with conservatives who have long criticized college faculty for being too left-wing, elitist and out of touch. The Breitbart article said the tweet, along with others from Maischak's account, demonstrates "why universities across the country are now viewed with disdain by average, salt-of-the-earth Americans."
The tweet drew the attention of the FBI, the Secret Service and Department of Homeland Security and federal investigators contacted Maischak and Fresno State President Joseph Castro, according to the Fresno Bee.
Maischak issued a written apology, published by the Bee, and he deleted his Twitter account. With 29 Twitter followers, Maischak said he "never expected" the tweets "to be read by anyone but a close circle of acquaintances who would know to place them in their context."
The history professor said the tweet was not intended to encourage others to harm anyone. He said he posted the statement out of "despair over the actions of the present U.S. government" and added that it felt "cathartic" to write it.
"I have deleted my Twitter account, to preclude the possibility that anyone reading my statements in the future would take them as encouragement to act violently or unlawfully," Maischak said. "I am prepared to take full responsibility for my statements."
In a statement announcing Maischak's leave of absence, Castro said Maischak "will no longer have a teaching role, but will conducting research off campus."
Copyright: USA TODAY