In early December, University of California-Merced sociology lecturer Dr. Fernando Chirino ranted to students that Daily Wire Editor-in-Chief Ben Shapiro, an avowed and outspoken opponent of white supremacists, was an “a**hole white supremacist,” while boasting he would enjoy “ripping this fool’s shoulder out of his socket.” Chirino allowed he didn’t want to debate Shapiro, but would rather battle him in “some sort of an MMA [mixed martial arts] thing.”

Now students at the university have created a Twitter page called “Justice4Fernando,” quoting a petition that demands that the university promote Chirino to “Assistant Professor.” The page states, “We will not let our academic freedom be silenced or attacked. We are in solidarity with Professor Fernando. We demand justice,” while showing photos of students raising their fists and holding signs that read, “Academic Freedom” and “Say no to Ben Shapiro.”

The petition created by students states:

We, concerned members of the University of California, Merced, stand in solidarity with our Professor and colleague Fernando Cortes Chirino, respected scholar and professor. We condemn white supremacist news media for inciting violent threats and ongoing harassment against Dr. Chirino and the UC Merced community and ask that the university take a strong stance against threats of verbal and physical violence, white supremacy, fascism, intimidation, and hate speech. … We reject any effort to silence Dr. Chirino for speaking against white supremacy.

The petition references the rant against Shapiro from December 1, saying, “Dr. Chirino also spoke out against white supremacy, fascism, hate speech, and the need to protect students of color on our campus, which is a Hispanic Serving Institution (HSI). He spoke movingly about ongoing struggles for justice, dignity, respect and the importance of solidarity."

The petition makes no mention of the threats against Shapiro, instead, continuing, “Campus Reform, The Daily Wire, and similar websites/groups have now targeted Dr. Chirino in print and via the audio recording (obtained without the professor’s permission). These outlets have incited alt-right and white supremacist followers to attack him via email and phone messages with racist speech and vicious and intimidating threats.”

The petition continues:

As a result of these incidents, we demand that: The university take no punitive action against Dr. Chirino, Students have a say in the faculty that the university choses to hire or fire, The university consider hiring Dr. Chirino as an Assistant Professor in Sociology ...

As Campus Reform reports:

A graphic posted by the organization on Instagram states, “Say no to Ben Shapiro,” and “No platform for Fascist [sic]!Or Racist [sic]!” and is accompanied by a picture of a Ku Klux Klan hood, a Pepe the frog wearing a Make America Great Again Hat, a white supremacist Identity Evropa logo, and the outline of President Trump’s hair, all with a red slash through it.”

Shapiro is scheduled to speak at UC Merced in February.

As Campus Reform notes, “Ben Shapiro has been a frequent critic of the alt-right, however, and Campus Reform categorically condemns all threats of violence against the subjects of our stories.”