Space helmet wearing, vulgarity spewing history professor paid $95K to go away

A space helmet-wearing, vulgarity-spewing history professor who has struck a deal to settle an employment dispute is pocketing $95,000 as he shuttles off into retirement.

But there’s a potentially expensive footnote for the scholar, in the context of a non-disparagement clause that is tantamount perhaps to a gag order.

“As part of the deal, Barry Mehler retired from Ferris State University rather than face possible termination after a judge refused to reinstate him last spring, according to a March document released to The Associated Press under a public records request. Mehler, 75, and the university agreed not to criticize each other. If the professor speaks out over the next three years, he must pay $60,000,” AP explained on Sunday.

Michigan-based Ferris reportedly suspended Mehler in the form of a paid administrative leave in January after he launched into a profane video rant as an apparent course introduction during which he accused students of being “vectors of disease.”

He also warned students that “none of you [expletives] are good enough to earn an A in my class.”

“When you see me next week, I’ll be wearing this helmet,” he said in the rambling, 14-minute monologue directed to his students, explaining that it set him back “300 bucks” and has “HEPA filters all around it, so that all the air…that I’m breathing comes in through the HEPA filters, and all the air that I breathe out goes out through the HEPA filter, so that it protects both me and you from this deadly virus that’s going around.”

Mehler also bragged that while he may have “f— up my life…but I stand before you today beholden to no human c——–r,” and that he has a union-protected job that prevents administrative meddling “because I’m a f—–g tenured professor.”

“So, if you want to go complain to your dean, f–k you; go ahead. I’m retiring at the end of this year, and I couldn’t give a flying f–k any longer,” he continued. “You people are just vectors of disease to me, and I don’t want to be anywhere near you, so keep your f—–g distance. If you want to talk to me, come to my Zoom.”

“He later said that the speech he gave was adapted from an episode from HBO’s Deadwood and used it to address the issue of plagiarism. The professor filed a lawsuit against the university in late January, claiming it had violated his First Amendment right,” Fox News reported..

The professor included a clip from Deadwood in the video, from which he seemed to borrow some dialogue.

“Mehler was upset with the university over its refusal to require COVID-19 vaccinations,” Fox News added.

Near the end of the diatribe, the apparently pro-mandate professor explained to his students that “I’m old enough to be your grandpa. And you people are vectors of disease to me, so when I look out at a classroom filled with 50 students, I see 50 selfish kids who don’t give a s—t whether grandpa lives or dies. And if you want to expose your grandpa to a possible infection with COVID, then stay the f–k away from me. If you don’t give a s–t about whether grandpa lives or dies, by all means, come to class. ”

Watch/listen the video, which has received about nearly 600,000 views, embedded below (*Warning for language):

The educator has implied about the lecture about course policies such as plagiarism and attendance, during which he only wore an astronaut-style helmet and a mask for about the first 20 seconds, is a kind of satirical performance art.

“Mehler, who has been teaching at Ferris State since 1988, said he uses attention-grabbing methods like strong language or profane references to keep students engaged in class. It’s a method that he’s known for on campus and that his students love, he told MLive in a phone call Tuesday, Jan. 18.” MLive reported at the time.

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