The College of Charleston is defending a professor of philosophy against calls that she be fired for saying it’s morally permissible to be happy about someone’s death, The Post and Courier reported. Rachel McKinnon has said that her original comment was about the late billionaire David Koch. But she also responded to tweets about the recent brain cancer diagnosis of British feminist Magdalen Berns. McKinnon is a transwoman, and Berns has questioned whether transwomen are women.
“Eh, if they’re a trash human actively trying to harm marginalized people because of who they are? I think it’s justified,” McKinnon tweeted. Hundreds of people have lobbied McKinnon’s department for an apology. The college said in a statement that it “expects its faculty members to make every effort to exercise appropriate restraint and show respect for the opinions of others when engaging them on challenging issues.” But it also said that faculty comments and statements are protected by the First Amendment and campus academic freedom policies. McKinnon did not respond to requests for comment.