Student center at University of California, Riverside
Student center at University of California, Riverside iStock

A University of California, Merced (UC Merced) professor allegedly behind a Twitter account full of offensive anti-Israel posts has been placed under a formal investigation looking into whether he violated the faculty code of conduct.

According to JWeekly, Abbas Ghassemi’s account of approximately 2,200 tweets included posts saying that Zionists and Israel controlled America’s banks, the media, business and government policy. There was also a post of a pictorial of a “Zionist brain” labelled with “frontal money lobe,” “Holocaust memory centre” and “world domination lobe.”

The account included Ghassemi’s photo, name, and academic position. The account bio stated he was a UC Merced professor.

The account was deleted in December after JWeekly initially reported on the offensive posts.

Eight days after the contents of Ghassemi’s Twitter account was publicized, UC Merced leadership denounced the tweets. The university’s Chancellor Juan Sánchez Muñoz described the posts as “abhorrent” and “repugnant.”

A month later, Ghassemi was removed from the spring semester teaching schedule.

A formal investigation is now being conducted by the university, with a recently publicly released court filing detailing that Ghassemi was notified of the investigation in an April 26 email from Gregg Camfield, UC Merced’s executive vice chancellor and provost. The email noted that the initial inquiry had expanded into a formal investigation due to numerous complaints reviewed by the multiple university offices after the allegations initially surfaced, reported JWeekly.

The email stated that Ghassemi is being investigated for five potential violations of conduct, including that his tweets may have created a “‘hostile environment’ that significantly impairs the teaching, research or service functions” of the university and whether Ghassemi “misrepresented his personal views as being a statement of the position of [UC Merced]” and whether he inappropriately used the university’s name in his Twitter bio and username, a misdemeanor violation of the California education code.

If Ghassemi violated any of the codes of conduct, the university could take disciplinary action.