A visiting assistant professor at the University of Tampa was “relieved of duty” after describing the destruction from Hurricane Harvey as “instant karma” for Texans who voted Republican last year, the school said Tuesday.
Kenneth Storey, whose LinkedIn profile says he lives in Winter Park and also teaches at Hillsborough Community College, ignited online outrage Sunday, amid reports of the destruction in Houston.
“I dont believe in instant karma but this kinda feels like it for Texas. Hopefully this will help them realize the GOP doesnt care about them,” Storey posted to Twitter, according to screen captures by other Twitter users and conservative websites.
Storey has since deleted the tweet and responses defending it to other users. According to TampaBay.com, he said he was “only blaming those who support the GOP,” though “the good people there need to do more to stop the evil their state pushes.”
Monday night, an apology was posted to the account: “I deeply regret a statement I posted yesterday. I never meant to wish ill will upon any group. I hope all affected by Harvey recover quickly.”
Storey, a University of Central Florida graduate who teaches sociology, did not immediately respond to a reporter’s direct message seeking further comment Tuesday.
The University of Tampa on Monday night posted a statement on Facebook condemning Storey’s comments and “the sentiment behind them,” but noted they were posted to a private account and “not made within his capacity as a faculty member.”
That statement made no reference to Storey’s future role with the university — but, in another release Tuesday, the university said 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,” the statement said. “Our thoughts and prayers are with all impacted by Hurricane Harvey.”
Spokespeople for Hillsborough Community College did not immediately respond to questions about Storey’s tweets or his role at that school going forward.