A lecturer at the University of Virginia is taking time away from the classroom after he compared the Black Lives Matter movement to the Ku Klux Klan in a recent online post, university officials said.
Douglas Muir, an adjunct lecturer for the university’s School of Engineering and Applied Science, made the comment on Oct. 4 in response to a Facebook post by a real estate agent attending an event featuring Black Lives Matter co-founder Alicia Garza.
“Black lives matter is the biggest rasist [sic] organization since the clan,” Muir replied. “Are you kidding me. Disgusting!!!”
Muir’s response, which has since been deleted, prompted a flurry of criticism online, where some noted the misspelling in his original post, and from university officials who said it raised “serious concerns” about the school’s commitment to inclusion.
“While free speech and open discussion are fundamental principles of our nation and the University, Mr. Muir’s comment was entirely inappropriate,” university officials said in a statement. “UVA Engineering does not condone actions that undermine our values, dedication to diversity and educational mission.”
Muir, who teaches entrepreneurship in both the university’s School of Engineering and Darden School of Business, has “agreed to take leave” from the school and is preparing to release his own statement, university officials said.
Attempts to reach Muir, of Charlottesville, were not successful on Monday. According to his university faculty website, Muir is also a “seasoned restaurateur” with family-style Italian eateries in Charlottesville and Richmond.
Muir’s post also caught the eye of Charlottesville City Councilman Wes Bellamy, who called for a boycott of his restaurants.
“I didn’t expect this from him, but if this is how he feels, he doesn’t have anything else to say to me,” Bellamy wrote on Instagram. “I would encourage everyone in the city to boycott the restaurant.”
Tom Katsouleas, executive vice president and provost of the University of Virginia, said he was “disturbed and saddened” by Muir’s post.
“This statement is inconsistent with the University of Virginia’s values and with its commitment to the principles of academic freedom,” Katsouleas said in a statement. “The University of Virginia stands firmly against racism and social injustice of any kind.”