A professor at a community college in Connecticut was accused of giving a controversial Nazi salute during a meeting earlier this month. Now, university officials have confirmed that they have responded to the matter by placing the professor on paid administrative leave.
The alleged incident took place during a November 2 meeting at Manchester Community College. The agenda then was for administrators to discuss ways to align curriculum across the state’s community colleges. Assistant professor of business and economics Charles Meyrick at Housatonic Community College was said to have held his right arm in a Nazi salute that lasted for 10 minutes.
<blockquote class="twitter-tweet" data-lang="en"><p lang="en" dir="ltr">“Charles Meyrick, an assistant professor of business and economics at Housatonic Community College, is reportedly on leave after giving a Nazi salute during a recent meeting of faculty members and administrators…” <a href="https://t.co/ESviDHy1h4">https://t.co/ESviDHy1h4</a></p>— Ted Thornhill, Ph.D. (@profthornhill) <a href="https://twitter.com/profthornhill/status/1061948516199813120?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">November 12, 2018</a></blockquote>
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CSCU President Mark Ojakian described the behavior of Meyrick as an “outburst.” He also said that the use of a Nazi salute was “appalling and unacceptable” which also required campus police to respond.
Ojakian also said in a statement that several staffers who attended the said meeting called him after to say they felt “violated, unsafe and shocked” by how Meyrick acted.
Others in the meeting also alleged that Meyrick started shouting during the meeting after he did not approve of the discussion. Meyrick apparently did not like the proposal to consolidate all of the state’s community colleges into a single statewide entity.
Ojakian asserted that such behavior exhibited by Meyrick “does not fit” with the community’s values and even reminded CSCU system employees to hold themselves “to higher standards of civility.”
Steve Ginsburg, director of the Anti-Defamation League in Connecticut, said, however, that it can not be automatically assumed that someone is anti-Semitic if they raise their arms in a Nazi salute.
Still, Ginsburg stressed that there are other more effective ways of implying that someone is being too authoritarian than using a ‘Heil Hitler’ or Nazi salute. He says such a gesture tends to trivialize the horrors of the Holocaust.