University of Tampa faculty member ‘relieved of duties’ after comments about Hurricane Harvey

TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) — The University of Tampa announced that a faculty member who made comments about people impacted by Hurricane Harvey has been “relieved of his duties.”

The university condemned the comments Monday night in a statement on Facebook. According to the post, faculty member Kenneth Storey made comments via his private social media account about the hurricane. The comments “were not made within his capacity as a faculty member, and they don’t represent the University’s views,” the statement says.

News Channel 8 was sent the alleged comments via Twitter.

The founder of the conservative organization Turning Point USA also posted screenshots of Storey’s alleged tweet, sparking outrage online.

On Tuesday, the University of Tampa sent News Channel 8 this statement that was sent to the UT community:

On Sunday, Aug. 27, visiting assistant professor of sociology Kenneth Storey made comments on a private Twitter account that do not reflect UT’s community views or values. We condemn the comments and the sentiment behind them, and understand the pain this irresponsible act has caused.

Storey has been relieved of his duties at UT, and his classes will be covered by other sociology faculty.

As Floridians, we are well aware of the destruction and suffering associated with tropical weather. Our thoughts and prayers are with all impacted by Hurricane Harvey.

We reached out to Katie Hawkins-Gaar at the Poynter Institute in St. Petersburg.

“I think ever suggesting that people deserve something, like a natural disaster, is never a good thing,” she said.

Hawkins-Gaar stressed the importance of knowing a company’s online and social media policy and making sure to follow the rules.

“Just slow down and pause before you post whatever is coming to your mind,” she said.

You can donate to the Red Cross by going to its website, calling 1-800-HELP NOW (1-800-435-7669) or texting 90999 to donate $10. The money goes toward recovery efforts.

Give Now

  •  Grab your phone
  •  Text REDCROSS to 90999 to donate $10 now.

Or, Donate Online

Donate to the Red Cross online here.

For more stories about the conditions in Texas from Harvey click here. 


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