An NYU professor who created a secret Twitter profile called Deplorable NYU Prof has gone on temporary leave since revealing his identity to one of NYU's student publications.
The NY Post reported on Sunday that professor Michael Rectenwald, or @antipcnyuprof, was "booted" for the remainder of the semester after his colleagues allegedly complained about his "incivility."
"They're actually punishing me for having a different perspective," Rectenwald told the Post.
However, NYU Local reports that Rectenwald appears to have gone on leave voluntarily.
"It is NYU's long-standing practice to not publicly disclose the private details of employees' employment records," NYU spokesman Matt Nagel told NYU Local. "However, I can assure you that the timing of Professor Rectenwald's leave has nothing—absolutely zero—to do with his Twitter account or his opinions on issues of the day. We look forward to his return."
NYU spokesman John Beckman also said Beckman's leave was voluntary. "We are puzzled by Professor Rectenwald's statements in the NY Post," Beckman told Gothamist via email. "As he indicated in his remarks to the student newspaper... his leave is voluntary; it was not demanded by the University and is unconnected to the social media postings. He requested the leave, and we look forward to having him back when he is ready."
Last Monday, NYU's Washington Square News published an interview with Rectenwald where he explained that despite his adoption of the term "deplorable," he doesn't support Trump—he just wants to show that the "social-justice-warrior left is producing the alt-right by virtue of its insanity" and that "trigger warning[s], safe spaces and bias hotline reporting is... producing a culture of hypervigilance, self-surveillance, and panopticism."
On his Twitter account, Rectenwald tweeted about the ills of trigger warnings and safe-spaces on college campuses, including the recent push by universities to dissuade students from wearing racist Halloween costumes.
I'll go Halloweening there as Nietzsche, who's been trigger-warned out of the curriculum, so no one will get it. What's yr costume idea? https://t.co/ShhjGnQphA
— Deplorable NYU Prof (@antipcnyuprof) September 30, 2016
Despite his claims that he doesn't support Trump—"I hate him—I think he's horrible. I'm hiding amongst the alt-right," he told WSN—Rectenwald's Twitter account is also full of retweets both bashing Hillary and supporting Trump.
After he went public with his identity, Rectenwald came under fire from NYU's Liberal Studies Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Working Group, which published a letter to the editor in the student paper criticizing his Twitter account and his statements about the left.
Rectenwald told the Post that he was called into a meeting with NYU's Liberal Studies department the same day the letter was published and told go to on leave. "I'm afraid my academic career is over," Rectenwald told the Post. "Academic freedom: it's great, as long as you don't use it."
But professors contend that they never intended to affect his employment status, only to argue against his statements.
"We can only respond to and challenge his rhetoric—particularly its flawed logic, but other aspects of it as well—and that's what we did," clinical assistant professor Suzanne Maria Menghraj told NYU Local.
Rectenwald did not respond to request for comment.