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Students allege government professor’s twitter full of bigoted content  

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Students allege government professor’s twitter full of bigoted content  

Government Professor Gregory Butler's office door in Breland Hall.

Government Professor Gregory Butler's office door in Breland Hall.

Cassidy Kuester

Government Professor Gregory Butler's office door in Breland Hall.

Cassidy Kuester

Cassidy Kuester

Government Professor Gregory Butler's office door in Breland Hall.

There is a fine line between freedom of speech and hate speech, and according to a few New Mexico State students, one government professor has gone too far on Twitter.  

A tweet began to circulate on Twitter in early March about “unpopular opinions” regarding NMSU in which twitter user and NMSU government student, Devin Narveson, shared her thoughts on professor Gregory Butler. 

 “Butler is a raging racist, misogynist and overall bigot in every way possible. He equates LGBTQ+ to bestiality and pedophilia and compares refugees to roaches ‘infecting the next country over,’” the tweet read.  

Butler is a tenured professor of the government department at NMSU and focuses on political philosophy and American politics. He has taught at NMSU for about 20 years. 

Narveson continued to tweet about her experiences with Butler and her findings from his alleged twitter account. The tweets seemed to resonate with other students who shared their own encounters and screenshots of various tweets they came across on the account.  

One screenshot depicts a tweet from Butler of a photo of a Muslim man with the caption, “ever notice how they always have that ‘I kill you’ look in their eyes?” the tweet said.  

Butler Tweets 1

Picture 2 of 40

The thread has 40 retweets and nearly 160 likes.  

In response to calls from students for NMSU to investigate the Twitter account and Butler, the university’s Twitter responded by urging students to report incidences of discrimination to the Office of Institutional Equity.  

New Mexico State University is committed to creating and maintaining a respectful, inclusive, and responsible learning and work environment,” the tweet read.  

The response was not enough for Twitter user Devan Davis who was unsatisfied with NMSU’s tweet.  

“This is unacceptable dude. These aren’t just ignorant opinions this is him being openly racist. It’s disgusting,” Davis said.  

The account in question, which has been active since 2015, has since been deactivated as per Gregory Butler in an email to the Round Up. 

“This is not an issue as this account is no longer active,” Butler said.  

Butler’s email further suggested that the twitter account @greg3671, formerly @gregNMSU, belongs to him.  

Additionally, the account tweeted in December 2016 about a letter from thenChancellor Garrey Carruthers that detailed the decision to not make NMSU a sanctuary university for migrant students. Butler expressed elation over the failure of the “silly petition” and said that “common sense” had prevailed.  

Butler had this message for students offended by the contents of the account, “this is all I have to say: anyone who does not like to read provocative things on my twitter feed (or anyone else’s for that matter) is under no obligation to continue doing so,” Butler said.  

Numerous screenshots of tweets and retweets from Butler’s alleged account have lingered on Twitter and exhibit a plethora of racist, homophobic, sexist and xenophobic comments, according to students.  

Narveson said that though his views didn’t often bleed into his teaching, it did come through when discussing certain topics. 

“We really didn’t discuss or debate about politics. It rarely became partisan. It wasn’t until one day later in the semester when we talked about identity politics that it came out,” Narveson said.  

According to Narveson, Butler had the class read an article about white privilege that argued that the concept was not real. When she spoke up about her differing opinion, he “laughed in [her] face” and was largely dismissive, she said  

Narveson said the exchange was extremely disappointing, as she had had a lot of respect for Butler prior to that incident. 

“It’s one thing to have your own opinion, but to belittle and laugh at a student for disagreeing is totally unnecessary,” Narveson said. “I wouldn’t say that he ‘victimized’ me, but he did shut me down and belittled me for having that dissenting opinion.”  

According to former NMSU student Rebecca Payne, who had a class with Butler a few years ago, free speech is often used as an excuse to spread hatred.  

“It begs the question of how far the first amendment will go to protect someone’s opinions when those opinions are solely to deny a group of people their equality,” Payne said.  

The discovery of the Twitter account appalled Payne because, according to her, NMSU is a multicultural school, with exchange students from across the globe and the presence of a racist professor is an afront to the institution which boasts itself as a diverse intellectual haven.  

The solution, Payne said, is to simply fire him.

“There is no room at a university for someone like him,” Payne said.  

Not everyone within the government department is at arms over Butler’s apparent Twitter alter-ego, as for some the emergence of the account came at a complete surprise.  

Christa Slaton, a government professor who teaches classes such as “women in politics,” said she was surprised to discover Butler’s alleged misogyny on the social media platform 

“If you’re going to criticize professors for expressing their political views, are you going to go after liberals as much as you are conservatives?” Slaton said.  

Slaton said that she has never had a negative encounter with Butler but that she also does not discuss politics with him as to avoid those kinds of divisive reactions. 

Hints to Butler’s alleged views are evident in more than just his secret twitter account. In examining his staff profile on the department of government’s website, a list of professional memberships shows links to the Abbeville Institute, which the Southern Poverty Law Center lists as a group of ideologues ushering in a new wave of neo-Confederates.   

The Abbeville institute is a group whose members include academic scholars in various fields from colleges across the southeast U.S. The group concentrates on Southern “identity and history” and focus primarily on what they say are the positive aspects such as the attempted succession by the Southern states which led to the Civil War.  

According to the SPLC in 2004, the Abbeville Institute is on par with the Institute for the Study of Southern Culture and History run by the League of the South, which has been listed as a hate group since 2000.   

Though Butler has deactivated the account, the ramifications for students wanting to take those classes will not subside. Some students have expressed regret in wanting to take his classes but refusing because of the views he purportedly holds.  

“I definitely think it’s inappropriate,” said Narveson. “When you teach your extremely bigoted opinions as the truth, allow your opinions to influence how you’ve treated students on multiple occasions, and how and what you’re advocating for or against within the university itself; I find that highly unacceptable.”

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About the Writer
Cassidy Kuester, Director of Multimedia

Cassidy Kuester enters her second year at the Round Up and her first as the Multimedia Editor. In her first year, Cassidy reported on a plethora of subjects...

20 Comments

20 Responses to “Students allege government professor’s twitter full of bigoted content  ”

  1. israel adame on April 15th, 2019 3:24 pm

    I got a crazy idea. How about you dont follow the guy and go on about your life. Case solved. Now i know it sounds crazy but hear me out. You mind your business, everyone else minds theirs and solved. Thank you. No need for applause im sure you would have done the same for me.

  2. Reaperman0 on April 16th, 2019 6:40 am

    Here’s a better solution – shun him. Don’t follow his Twitter, don’t take his classes, don’t work with him for grad school. He won’t last long if no one is taking classes from him.

  3. Frank Ch. Eigler on April 16th, 2019 8:03 am

    stop making me love government professor’s twitter

  4. Heinz M Koppner on April 16th, 2019 9:39 am

    I took four or five classes with Dr Butler and never had a negative experience. His conservative position is well known but never reached into the classroom. Do we as a University have a responsibility to have a mix of conservative and liberal educators or do we want to play into the hands of ultraconservative voices, condemning Universities as one-sided left-wing training grounds? Dr Butler is a great instructor and him going would be a great loss for our institution. The roundup is lately very fast with the publication of inciting, divisive, and badly researched articles.

  5. RyanT on April 16th, 2019 1:37 pm

    I was in this guy’s class. Never saw him teach anything racist, but he was famous for using the N word in the car parking lot.

  6. Jamie Bronstein on April 16th, 2019 3:21 pm

    Given the university’s history with being a nurturing environment for actual Nazis, they are not going to persecute a guy for a little recreational white supremacy in his spare time.

  7. Anon on April 16th, 2019 6:16 pm

    Too many people cannot understand the difference between politics, and racist, bigoted comments. Unfortunately, it seems as though racism has become more of a political side than not, as you can see from other people’s comments on this story. This is not about this teacher’s political views, it is about his racist, sexist, and relatively vulgar comments that people from all political ideals should be able to condemn. There’s no place for these comments, or people who believe in them, at NMSU.

  8. Kelsey Bowman on April 16th, 2019 8:16 pm

    I have known Dr. Butler for almost 10 years, had classes with him nearly every semester of the 7 years I’ve been at NMSU, and been his GA for a semester and while I disagree with the opinions in the Twitter account, I can say that he is a fine teacher who has never ever let racist or sexist views come out in the classroom. I can’t speak for everyone but as a female he was never, ever sexist toward me and never treated me with anything but respect. Every class I’ve had with him (and we are talking at least 10 classes) has been politically neutral and I’ve never seen him express anything like this in the classroom. I would never defend the content of the twitter account but it doesn’t line up with the Dr. Butler I know in and out of class as a student and a GA.

  9. Christopher Rosales-Renault on April 16th, 2019 9:12 pm

    This is a pathetic excuse for journalism. Should I be surprised that NMSU’s journalism department has produced nothing but another tweet-gathering liar to contribute to the degradation of our country and its institutions via low-brow and gossipy libel?

    Here are the facts: Dr. Butler is one of most outstanding professors at NMSU, one of the few that I have taken that is actually qualified to teach. The fact that he is willing to question the biases at the foundation of modern liberalism should not be a reason for dismissal (which would be a serious risk that NMSU simply would not take), but instead a reason for celebration. In a university where nearly every professor is leftwing (many of whom are communistic), the few conservative voices should be cherished. Not every professor has to align himself perfectly to modern liberal dogma; not every professor has to adopt the sanctimonious, bourgeois, and smug attitude that characterizes 95%, or more, of university professors in our country at this point.

    I have the following suggestions for anyone who does not appreciate Dr. Butler’s intellectual contributions:
    1.) Reach within your heart and allow your ideas, biases, and thoughts to be subject to criticism, as this is the purpose of academia in the first place.
    2.) If you simply cannot stand your ideas to be challenged, then instead of actively (and futilely) trying to destroy a good man’s livelihood and career via petty complaint in the guise of journalism (the path that the savage mob loves too dearly these days), then simply avoid the challenge. Save yourselves the trouble and embrace intellectual cowardice!

    These are your options. Everything else is just noise.

    I would implore my fellow students to be more open-minded and to understand that the goal of academia is not to hear the echos of one’s own mind reverberating back at oneself (why even pay for that?). The goal of academia is intellectual growth, and growth oftentimes means being challenged. In addition, I would ask of you to exorcise from yourselves the “spirit of heaviness” and replace it with a “garment of praise” (Isaiah 61:3). You lot are far too serious. You burden yourselves with pettiness and small-minded irrelevancies. Or will you continue to take (anonymous) Twitter so seriously and allow it to continuously ruin your mood without hope of cessation? If that’s the case, then I pity you. Your quality of life will be lamentably low.

    Lastly, it’s quite clear that an anonymous Twitter account of a professor has no bearing on the institution he works for. It’s anonymous for a reason. Simply get over it. You have no right to attempt to police, arrogantly and domineeringly, every aspect of your professors lives.

    Though I have not much to lose, in solidarity with Dr. Butler, whose anonymity has been thwarted, I’ll leave my comment under my name.

  10. Carol on April 17th, 2019 8:51 pm

    Christopher Rosales Renault, the Journalism and Media Department does not have ANY authority over what the Round Up writes or publishes, so please refrain from sladering an entire department. I have no comment on the article or professor.

  11. Karen Milliorn on April 17th, 2019 10:38 pm

    We are, unfortunately, at last, seeing the beginning of the phenomenon we’ve seen at a number of other universities wherein good teachers & prolific professors who do not toe the mainstream liberal line in all aspects of life are hunted, hounded, & castigated by social justice sharks who exaggerate their crimes & attempt at (& frequently succeed at) having them removed from their jobs despite their having been exemplary teachers who did not proselytize their unpopular views to students.
    At the same time, such activity by blatantly liberal professors IN THE CLASSROOM goes unremarked by & & uncorrected by either those who support those opinions or by those who fear (& frequently do suffer) academic retribution for being “on the wrong side”—or even suffer it for simply arguing that classrooms ought to be neutral territory where political issues are concerned (or that equal time should be given to both pro & con arguments).
    This attempt to root out & destroy anyone in a university who does not conform is dangerous & is completely opposite to the spirit of academic inquiry. Do we believe in diversity if it is only the “right” kind of diversity? Must every professor have every Twitter comment, every Face Book comment, every comment everywhere for decades past on squeaky clean & socially acceptable to the “right people”? And precisely who are the “right people” to judge someone’s life content to be certain every professor passes muster? The idea that we would even consider such a muster—which is the topic of the article, after all—ought to scare all of us silly.

  12. Deanna Crane on April 18th, 2019 7:53 am

    My husband and I had Dr. Butler during a 3 summer series of Project 1776. It was the summer of 2007-2009, I was fresh out of college and teaching history/music at a middle school. We spent 9 hours a day, 5 days a week for 3 weeks each summer listening to professors from all over the country talk about American History – from 1600’s to modern day. Butler and his colleagues were professional and entertaining. I learned so much from those 9 weeks – more than I ever did about our American Founding in High School or College. They were never dismissive, racist, mysoginistic, homophobic,etc…Dr. Butler has held my upmost respect for the last 13 years I have known him. My husband took a couple of classes from Dr. Bulter for his Masters Degree- and can only say the same. My husband is now a History/Civics teacher, Football coach and I – a Registered Nurse for 8 years. We also recently wrote an album about the American Revolution- all due in part to Dr. Butler, his colleagues and their excellent professorship.

  13. Christopher Alan Micklevitz on April 18th, 2019 11:58 am

    I was saddened to see that the Round Up and apparently New Mexico State itself has succumbed to the intolerance of ideas and divisiveness that is plaguing Universities across the country. I attended NMSU for 8 years and obtained 2 Masters Degrees. In my time there I welcomed the opportunity to be instructed by Dr. Butler and thought it a privilege to be able to do so. When a learned man such as Dr. Butler expresses an opinion he does so with careful thought and insight. His truths however unpopular with the left come not from hate but from experience and observations that he has seen and researched throughout his career. Whether progressive liberals like it or not, what is happening in our country today has happened to other countries in the past. Dr. Butler is simply sharing his insight. To attempt to take away his lively hood because of the limited knowledge and experience his students have should give pause. Instead of attempting to persecute the man at an institution of learning, embrace the diversity of the ideas that some would consider unpopular and view it as a learning experience. Take his courses, listen to his lectures and the inaccuracies of this article will be apparent.
    To the writer, and I use that term loosely, As long as Dr. Butler has been at NMSU he deserves the benefit of the doubt, you gave anyone but him an opportunity to respond to the allegations. He deserves a chance to put what you categorize as hate speech into context. Your article is nothing more than a hit piece and that is evident with the picture and exactly where to find him. Irresponsible journalism is commonplace with liberal news outlets across the country and it appears to have found a home at my alma mater.

  14. Brannick Harris on April 18th, 2019 2:31 pm

    Oh, good! A witch hunt! I was just thinking it was high time we had another of these. I’d sure hate to let a good man express his opinions.

    If Miss Kuester wants a mob, she’s sure to find one, though probably not the one she had hoped for. Anyone who knows Greg Butler knows he is a kind, hardworking, and generous person. I have known him in an academic and professional capacity for more than ten years and have NEVER heard him say anything demeaning, derogatory, or inappropriate in one of his classes. He takes great care to not foist his biases on his students, a true rarity in a time when some professors seem to be getting paid to do just that.

    As a conservative student group leader at NMSU, I was impressed that Dr. Butler often distanced himself from our agenda, however sympathetic to it he may have been. So the suggestion that he makes a habit of using his position as some sort of bully pulpit against these poor, sensitive students is absolute nonsense.

    To those calling for his firing or punishment, I want you to take a good, long look in the mirror. Perhaps we should ruin your career for your beliefs? That’s equitable, right?

    I’m disappointed in my fellow students. NMSU has always been, in my opinion, largely tolerant of conflicting viewpoints, as any credible academic institution should. These few attention-starved rabble-rousers do not speak for our school, they do not speak for the student body, and they do not speak for me.

    I’m with you, Dr. Butler, and anyone else who dares commit the sin of ever speaking their mind.

  15. James Stepp on April 18th, 2019 3:37 pm

    I have known Dr. Butler for years, first as a student and later as a colleague. I took many of his classes and he also served as my thesis adviser. He is a fantastic professor who delves deeply into the material and was one of the best aspects of my Master’s program. I have never experienced any bigotry nor have I heard a bigoted word come out of his mouth. I have spent a lot of time in higher education and I have seen professors of every political persuasion, sometimes I agree with them and sometimes I do not, and that is okay. Being exposed to diverse opinions is part of the college experience. I believe in academic freedom and I also believe in separating the personal from the professional. No one has even alleged that their political beliefs or Dr. Butler’s affected their grade, merely that their beliefs were challenged, which is the role of a professor. We should not forget that this is a man’s career and livelihood we are discussing. As a society we should stop trying to destroy peoples lives over a bad tweet or an unpopular political opinion.

  16. CK on April 18th, 2019 4:26 pm

    My very first Government Graduate School course was in Dr. Butler’s Political Theory Seminar. Within the first five minutes he challenged all of us to focus, take his course and our education seriously, and be ready to question what we thought we knew about political ideology and political actors. It was bracing, refreshing, and I relished his Socratic Method engagement. There were often students in the seminar not prepared, and rather than embarrass them, he still sought to involve them in our discussions of reading. I regret my MPA program limited me to two Dr Butler courses, and still tell family and work colleagues today about lessons I learned within his lectures.

    I second what others have stated here about my beliefs differing with the content of Dr. Butler’s Twitter feed. At this point is it important to bring out the maxim – “I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it”, Evelyn Beatrice Hall

  17. Anonymous on April 18th, 2019 6:13 pm

    Sounds like NMSU students are a bunch of whiny, sniveling brats. Grow up and get a thick skin. It’s called life.

  18. Lindsey Montoya on April 18th, 2019 10:49 pm

    Wow. Left wing students never cease to amaze me. I cannot count the number of times a liberal professor has spouted off his or her agenda in a classroom I was learning in. It was commonplace at NMSU and when I was on campus at UCLA. Students with differing opinions had to keep their heads down just to prevent negatively influencing a grade.

    I never had to worry about this with Dr. Butler. Dr. Butler has ALWAYS been neutral, fair and professional in the classroom. I have taken many classes from him and never once felt he was pushing a political platform in any way. He was never racist or sexist and he never made students feel uncomfortable. His were some of the best courses in both my undergraduate and graduate career at NMSU. He is an outstanding professor that I highly respect and admire. So much so, that I went on to be his graduate assistant for a year. I worked on a summer intensive with him and during those numerous hours, I never felt he brought any bias or unprofessional behavior into the classroom. The students in that workshop, who were other educators, all spoke very highly of him. I never received any complaints, only praises.

    I have known Dr. Butler for over 15 years now, as both a student and an employee. He is one of the few truly excellent professors left. He is brilliant and thought-provoking. He makes you work and holds you accountable. You leave actually learning something! It’s really a shame that his reputation is being drug through the mud by students that haven’t even experienced his teaching. Did I always agree with everything he said? No. What person does with anyone? Do I think some of the tweets are offensive? Sure. That doesn’t matter. Being offended and challenged and provoked is how we grow. It’s how we form our own opinions and learn how to defend them. That is something Dr. Butler has always done well. He challenges students to make them better. He is entitled to his opinion and he is allowed to make jokes at others’ expenses. Especially in his personal life! That is the beauty of free speech. If a university isn’t protecting that, then what is it even doing?

  19. Jamie L. Bronstein on April 19th, 2019 2:26 pm

    Ha, I can’t believe the neoconfederate Lee Cheek is on here waving the flag for Professor Butler. Who’s going to provide a testimonial next, David Duke?

  20. DM on April 22nd, 2019 8:04 am

    Hispanic here, I took three of Dr. Butlers classes when I attended NMSU, and not once did I ever feel discriminated against. Those three classes were some of the most insightful, thought-provoking, and welcoming that I attended while there. Classes were quite diverse, representing folks from a variety of backgrounds, ethnicity, religions etc. Not once did Dr. Butler say something disparaging about a group of people, discourage us from challenging his views, or show hostility to any group of people. He always provided wonderful feedback during discussions and on my assignments, helping me to become better at what I did, regardless of whether my research papers agreed or disagreed with his views. He also never hesitated when I requested to meet with him or when I asked him to write me a letter of recommendation for a future endeavor. If he was what this alter ego twitter account paints him out to be, he would have never given me the time of day nor written me that letter which helped me attain that role, nor would he have committed over 15 years of his life to a HISPANIC SERVING INSTITUTION.
    I find the hyperbole interesting in which the one student in this article explains that Dr. Butler “laughed” in her face. What an image that statement paints. Sure, he and other classmates would lightly chuckle if somebody did not agree with something, almost every professor in that department, liberal or conservative, did the same. Dr. Butler, however, never in a way that attempted to demean. Following lighthearted moments such as this were usually insightful remarks by Dr. Butler and others in class.
    The writer of this article needs to clearly do some research on the frivolous detail about this alleged “hate group,” as their remarks in the paper are terribly misleading and appeal to baseline emotions of what is the modern day social justice warrior. Cherry picking has become quite the staple of modern day journalism, and it is incredibly sad to see it being done by the round up, a group that I advocated for during my time in student government.
    There is a difference between writing words that people choose to look at and get offended by and an individual carrying out oppressive and discriminatory actions in their waking life. Dr. Butler has done nothing that I have seen to harm anybody or strip them of their liberty. He wrote some words on a twitter account. Get a grip and move on to stories that actually matter.

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Students allege government professor’s twitter full of bigoted content