Suspended professor made salty video to get ‘juices flowing’

Jan 14, 2022, 3:13 PM | Updated: 7:18 pm

DETROIT (AP) — A Michigan professor who was suspended after making a profanity-filled introductory video for his students said Friday it was simply a humorous attempt “to get their juices flowing.”

“If a professor comes in and he’s all high and mighty and using words they don’t understand — that doesn’t help them relax and think. … It was a performance,” Barry Mehler told The Associated Press.

Mehler, who teaches history, was placed on leave this week at Ferris State University in Big Rapids, 155 miles (250 kilometers) northwest of Detroit, after school President David Eisler said he was “shocked and appalled” by the video.

“The president has never liked me,” Mehler, 74, said.

In a 14-minute video at the start of a new term, he covered a range of topics, including grades, attendance, plagiarism, COVID-19 and the HBO series “Deadwood.”

He said he randomly assigns grades before the first day of class.

“That is how predestination works. … Take your complaints to God. He ordained this system, not me,” Mehler said.

But later in the video he also said that “everything you need to earn an A” is available on a class website.

Mehler, who is upset with the university over its refusal to require COVID-19 vaccinations, called students “vectors of disease” and said they didn’t need to attend in person.

“I will not take questions in class because I’m wearing this … helmet in order to stay alive,” he said, a reference to an astronaut-style helmet with air filters.

In the interview Friday, Mehler, noting his age and risk for getting the virus, said his policy on classroom attendance was not a joke. On Tuesday, after his video was sent to students, his classroom was full — proof, he said, that most weren’t offended by his stream of expletives.

“The whole idea was to get their juices flowing,” Mehler said. “But they also knew their grade was not based on predestination. That was simply humorous.”

Ferris State spokesman Sandy Gholston declined to comment.

Mehler said a lawyer and an academic freedom group, the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education, are helping him fight the ouster from the classroom.

“I’ve gotten lots of support since this happened by former students who said, ‘You were the funniest professor I ever had,'” said Mehler, who has been at Ferris State for decades. “People who have watched the video are writing to say, ‘It was hysterical. I laughed from beginning to end.'”

___

Follow Ed White at http://twitter.com/edwritez

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

AP

Residents gather on a street corner next to a home built with money earned in the United States, in...
Associated Press

Mexico’s remittances pass $50 billion, surge during pandemic

COMACHUEN, Mexico (AP) — Mexico’s remittances — the money migrants send home to their relatives — have soared in the past two years, and are now expected to top $50 billion for the first time once 2021’s figures are added up. That would surpass almost all other sources of Mexico’s foreign income. But as happy […]
22 hours ago
A community police officer stands guard at the main gate to the Purepecha Indigenous community of C...
Associated Press

Indigenous town in Mexico survives on remittances from US

COMACHUEN, Mexico (AP) — In Comachuen, a Purepecha Indigenous community of about 10,000 inhabitants nestled high in the pine-clad mountains of the western state of Michoacan, the whole town survives because of the money sent home by migrants working in the United States. That money, known as remittances, kept families fed after local woodworking sales […]
22 hours ago
Senior biologist Allan Jan feeds Methuselah, a 4-foot-long, 40-pound Australian lungfish that was b...
Associated Press

Meet Methuselah, the oldest living aquarium fish

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — Meet Methuselah, the fish that likes to eat fresh figs, get belly rubs and is believed to be the oldest living aquarium fish in the world. In the Bible, Methuselah was Noah’s grandfather and was said to have lived to be 969 years old. Methuselah the fish is not quite that […]
22 hours ago
Federal Reserve Board Chairman Jerome Powell listens during his re-nominations hearing before the S...
Associated Press

As Fed meets, investor angst over rate hikes spooks markets

WASHINGTON (AP) — Wild volatility in the stock market this week has put heightened scrutiny on the Federal Reserve’s meeting Wednesday and whether the Fed will clarify just how fast it plans to tighten credit and potentially slow the economy. With high inflation squeezing consumers and businesses, the Fed is expected to signal that it […]
22 hours ago
Associated Press

Today in History

Today in History Today is Wednesday, Jan. 26, the 26th day of 2022. There are 339 days left in the year. Today’s Highlight in History: On Jan. 26, 2020, the U.S. consulate in the Chinese city of Wuhan, the epicenter of the coronavirus epidemic, said it would evacuate its personnel and some private citizens aboard […]
22 hours ago
FILE - In this image from surveillance video, Minneapolis police Officers from left, Tou Thao, Dere...
Associated Press

Prosecution witnesses say they feared for Floyd’s life

ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) — Prosecutors at the federal trial of three former Minneapolis police officers charged with violating George Floyd’s civil rights are trying to show that even bystanders knew the Black man needed help, while the officers failed to act as former Officer Derek Chauvin knelt on Floyd’s neck. Footage shown to jurors […]
22 hours ago

Sponsored Articles

...
ENVOQUE MD

Thyroid issues: Here are the warning signs and what to do

In a 100-person office in the United States, an estimated 12 co-workers, employees and loved ones, will likely develop a thyroid condition during their lifetime. That’s because, according to the American Thyroid Association, more than 12% of the U.S. population will experience thyroid issues.
...
PNC BANK

How your family can explore the Musical Instrument Museum

Whether you want to spend a day with family, do crafts with kids at home, or have an adult night out, the Musical Instrument Museum in Phoenix has options. As the world’s only global musical instrument museum, MIM offers interactive and immersive exhibits to foster an appreciation of different cultures and their instruments. “A visit […]
...
DISC DESERT INSTITUTE FOR SPINE CARE

What you need to know about spine health

With 540 million people suffering from lower back pain, it remains the leading cause of long-term disability. That’s why World Spine Day on Oct. 16 will raise awareness about spinal health with its theme, BACK2BACK. “BACK2BACK will focus on highlighting ways in which people can help their spines by staying mobile, avoiding physical inactivity, not overloading […]
Suspended professor made salty video to get ‘juices flowing’