Fresno State Students, Staff Vent at Open Forum about Randa Jarrar Tweets

FRESNO, Calif. - Fresno State President Joseph Castro addressed students and faculty on Wednesday morning for the first time since professor Randa Jarrar tweeted disparaging remarks about former First Lady Barbara Bush.

The open forum was a chance for the Fresno State to come voice their opinions and concerns.

Many continue to be angry, like media, communications, and journalism (MCJ) student Eddie Block.

"Hearing her talk about a person who just died, that's what hurt me the most. It didn't matter if it was Barbara Bush," commented Block.

But there are others who question Fresno State's diversity.

Philosophy major Maraika Kuipers said, "As a Palestinian myself, I identify with part of her comments when she talked about the Bush family being war criminals."

Kuipers argues the tweets have opened up discussion to perhaps a larger issue.

"This issue is bigger than Professor Jarrar. This issue is bigger than her comments. This is about making sure that the Arab voice, that the Palestinian voice, is heard on this campus and in the community," stated Kuipers.

Castro calls Jarrar's comments disgraceful, but reminded students and staff that there are legal matters that had to be considered, which is why she continues to be employed. He said they are now looking deeper into social media ethics in relation to academic freedom at the university.

"While she made those comments and she tagged Fresno State, that's one person. There's 25,000 students on this campus and all the professors, so just because one person thinks that way, doesn't mean we all do," ended Block.

There will be another open forum hosted by Castro, held on Thursday evening at 7pm at the Save Mart Center. It is open to the entire community.

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