GWINNETT COUNTY, Ga. (CBS46) -- Dr. Fang Zhou, a history professor at Georgia Gwinnett College (GGC), is facing scrutiny for comments he made on Facebook regarding illegal immigration.
State Representative Bee Nguyen shared the Zhou’s Facebook conversation on Twitter, calling out GGC for their faculty member’s “hostile” comments.
In the statements on his personal Facebook account, Zhou admonishes illegal immigration, stating illegal immigrants cause higher crime rates. He called their supporters, “ghetto thugs” and “libtards” while expressing his support for the MAGA movement.
“I am legal immigrant from China,” Zhou told CBS46. “I am a proud Georgia Republican. I vote in the Republican primary. I’m just speaking for myself.”
His free speech is causing growing controversy, but Zhou told CBS46 he stands behind every word.
“I tell my students, I am against political correctness,” Zhou said. “I speak truth to power. I will call a spade a spade,” he went on, stating he always tells his students to back up their arguments with research-based evidence. Zhou said he teaches the differences between illegal and legal immigration in his history classes. He said many students leave his class being in opposition to illegal immigration.
Zhou said he is not worried about losing his job. In fact, he said no one from the school has contacted him for a reprimand or a conversation about the comments.
“I’m an associate professor with job security and my institution has an academic freedom policy,” Zhou said. He said comments on his personal Facebook page are an example of his right to free speech.
“There are probably better ways to put something. You don’t always have to say it that way,” said one GGC student who did not want to be identified.
Many students on the mostly minority campus told CBS46, they take issue with Zhou’s comments.
“It’s wrong and it’s crazy for him to think,” said sophomore Tyshawnyia Holmes. “I think him referring to “ghetto thugs” is referring to one set of people, like one particular culture of people, like black people,” she added saying she does not want GGC to protect Zhou’s job.
“He should not be saying anything like that about anybody no matter what race they are,” Holmes continued.
Bendy Buabeng said the school needs to hold Zhou accountable.
“I feel like he could’ve made his point without calling them thugs, because I am an immigrant myself and I feel like he just assumed that every immigrant is a thug, like they’re just associated with crime,” Buabeng said. “I don’t think that’s right,” he added.
Georgia Gwinnett College would not provide CBS46 with an official statement in response to Zhou’s comments, but instead sent various links outlining policies on academic free speech. The school also sent a notice to faculty during the 2018 election season urging them to review political activity guidelines. One bullet point notes that employees must “keep partisan political activities separate from their work at the College.”
Schools that are a part of the University of Georgia System have academic freedom policies which allows professors to speak freely within the academic setting.
You can view the policies in detail by clicking here: