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Ferris State University professor on leave after profane video to students circulates online

The humanities professor has been teaching in Big Rapids for more than 27 years.

BIG RAPIDS, Mich. — A tenured history professor at Ferris State University is on administrative leave after a profanity-laden recorded course introduction video posted to his YouTube account to students circulated online. 

Barry Mehler has been teaching at Ferris for nearly 30 years in the humanities department and is the director for the Institute for the Study of Academic Racism and the Shoah Institute, according to the university's website.

The Spring 2022 semester began on Monday, with instruction being held in person, which appears to be a large source of his ire in the video. 

At one point in the recording, Mehler profanely calls out the school's administration, encourages students not to come to class as he claims they are "vectors of disease," and indicated he would randomly assign grades at the start of his course.

Credit: YouTube
Ferris State University Professor, Berry Mehler 2022 course introduction

13 ON YOUR SIDE asked the university about the recording and received this statement: 

"Ferris State University is aware of a course video distributed to students, in early January, by a faculty member believed to be Professor Barry Mehler. The faculty member has been placed on administrative leave pending the outcome of an investigation."

Ferris President David Eisler provided the following statement to 13 ON YOUR SIDE:

“I was shocked and appalled by this video. It is profane, offensive and disturbing and in no way reflects our University or its values.”

It appears the link to Mehler's bio on the university's website has been removed.

Credit: Ferris State University
This is a screenshot of Barry Mehler's Ferris State University bio page on Jan. 12, 2022.

Mehler earned his BA in History at Yeshiva University, an MA in Labor History from the City College of New York and has a Ph.D. in History, Behavior-Genetic Analysis, and History of Science from the University of Illinois.  

The status of his Spring 2022 course remains unclear. 

In Feb. 2021, Ferris State fired a science professor who used racist, anti-Semitic, and homophobic slurs on Twitter.

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