DETROIT (AP) – A Michigan professor who was suspended in January for making an inappropriate video to greet students has settled …
DETROIT (AP) — A Michigan professor suspended in January for a profanity-laced video greeting students has settled his legal dispute with the university by accepting $95,000 and agreeing to a three-year cease-and-desist order.
As part of the settlement, Barry Mehler resigned from Ferris State University rather than face possible termination after a judge refused to reinstate him last spring, according to a March document released by The Associated Press under a public records request.
Mehler, 75, and the university agreed not to criticize each other. If the professor speaks during the next three years, he must pay $60,000.
Mehler, who taught history at Ferris State for decades, made headlines in January when the school placed him on paid leave in response to a provocative 14-minute video that garnered more than 500,000 views on YouTube.
He used profanity and made sexual references when talking about his attendance policy, grades, plagiarism and COVID-19.
Mehler was upset that the university refused to require vaccinations against COVID-19. He called the students “disease carriers” and said they did not need to attend classes in person.
“I’m not going to answer questions in class because I’m wearing this … helmet to stay alive,” he said, referring to an astronaut’s helmet with air filters.
David Eisler, who was president of Ferris State at the time, said he was “shocked and appalled.”
Mehler said his free speech rights were violated when he was suspended.
“The whole idea was to make them work,” Mehler told the AP in January, referring to the video and his students. “But they also knew that their grade was not based on predestination. It was just humor.”
Ferris State is located in Big Rapids, 155 miles (250 kilometers) northwest of Detroit.
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