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This article contains explicit and potentially offensive terms that are essential to reporting on this situation.
Ferris State University in Michigan has reached an agreement with a professor who was suspended after posting a provocative, often-profane video for students ahead of the new semester in January, the Associated Press reported. Under the agreement, he will retire and receive $95,000. The professor, Barry Mehler, also agreed not to criticize Ferris State for three years. If he does criticize the university, he could be forced to pay $60,000.
In the video, Mehler said he’s fearful of teaching in person during COVID-19 because he’s already 74 years old and that he was planning to retire at the end of the semester. Mehler’s faculty union backed him and said the university was wrong to suspend him.
“Back to the show,” Mehler says in the YouTube video, in which he first appears wearing an astronaut-style helmet. “I want to introduce myself before we actually meet F to F, as we say these days, which everybody knows means fuck to fuck—which really means that we’re all fucked.”
Mehler, a tenured historian, tells students that when they see him in person in class, he’ll be wearing the $300 helmet because it has high-efficiency particulate air filters to protect “both me and you from this deadly virus that’s going around.”
Mehler then delivers a profanity-laden soliloquy about how no “cocksucker of an administrator is going to tell me how to teach my classes because I’m a fucking tenured professor. So if you want to go complain to your dean, fuck you. Go ahead. I’m retiring at the end of this year, and I couldn’t give a flying fuck any longer.”