DETROIT (TBEN) — A Michigan professor who was suspended in January for making a profanity video welcoming students settles his legal dispute with a university by accepting $95,000 and agreeing to a three-year gag order.
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As part of the deal, Barry Mehler retired from Ferris State University rather than potentially being fired after a judge refused to reinstate him last spring, according to a document released to The The Bharat Express News in March pursuant to a public filing request. .
Mehler, 75, and the university agreed not to criticize each other. If the professor speaks out in the next three years, he will have to pay $60,000.
Mehler, who taught history at Ferris State for decades, made headlines in January when the school put 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 a sexual reference as he went on about his attendance policies, grades, plagiarism and COVID-19.
Mehler was angry at the university for its refusal to demand COVID-19 vaccinations. He called students “disease vectors” and said they didn’t have to attend class in person.
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“I won’t answer questions in class because I wear this… helmet to stay alive,” he said, referring to an astronaut helmet with air filters.
David Eisler, Ferris state president at the time, said he was “shocked and horrified”.
Mehler said his freedom of speech was violated when he was suspended.
“The whole idea was to get their juices flowing,” Mehler told the TBEN in January, referring to the video and his students. “But they also knew that their grade was not based on predestination. That was just humorous.”
Ferris State is located in Big Rapids, 250 miles northwest of Detroit.
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