On Friday evening, Nov. 6, while presidential election results continued to come in, Dr. Paul Ewell, a professor at Virginia Wesleyan University, made a post to Facebook disparaging supporters of Joe Biden in Ewell’s social media circle. Ewell is a professor of Management, Business, and Economics as well as Dean of the Virginia Wesleyan University Global Campus.
In the post, Ewell addresses those “ignorant, anti-American, and anti-Christian enough to vote for Biden,” asking they leave his social media following. “You have corrupted the election. You have corrupted our youth. You have corrupted our country,” Ewell said. “I have standards and you don’t meet them. Please remove yourself.”
Through social media, Ewell’s comments received a bevy of backlash, with over 816 comments flooding the University’s Facebook page as of Nov. 15. Calls for Ewell’s firing or resignation have come in from students and alumni. It’s important to note that Ewell is a tenured professor at VWU.
The administration of VWU issued a broad response to the statement. “The University is aware of a recent comment made on social media by a member of the campus community. These views and opinions are expressly the individual’s own. Civic engagement and religious freedom are at the core of the University’s values, and we remain an inclusive and caring community that empowers meaningful relationships through listening, understanding, and communication.”
Ewell expressed regret for his post on Facebook and recognized that what he said was wrong. “I spoke out [sic] of anger which I should not have done. Second, I don’t believe what I said. I have friends and family who are Democrats and I love them dearly. I have apologized on both accounts profusely. I set a poor example in that post of what a Christian should be. I know that God has forgiven me and already died for my sins. I hope others will forgive me as well.”
Ewell continued to share his perspective on the issue with regards to civility and faith. “We all need to be a little less quick to anger and a little more willing to forgive and that certainly applies to me,” he said. “I am a Christian work-in-progress for sure.” Ewell also made an apology statement on his Facebook account, which has gone private in the wake of the original post’s reception.
Meanwhile, this story has sparked attention in other news outlets such as The Washington Post, Associated Press, and The Virginian-Pilot. The story broke further into national attention when President Donald Trump took to Twitter, quoting the NBC12 WWBT Richmond article about Ewell with the comment “Progress!”. Trump’s post, made at 9:55 a.m. on Nov. 15, has amassed over 140 thousand likes and 31 thousand retweets by 5:00 p.m. of the same day. The story reaching the national level has only demonstrated greater polarization, highlighted by fervent support for and opposition to Ewell and his comments .
The News section welcomes all commentary from the Marlin community on the issue. Amending a post made by the Marlin Chronicle social media earlier on Nov. 15, both faculty and staff are invited to comment on the matter, in addition to students and alumni. Once again, all comments can be directed to @marlinchronicle on social media or to news reporter, Brianna Sandy, at firstname.lastname@example.org.
This is a developing story, and coverage will continue as details arise. A full-length story is expected to be published in the upcoming Nov. 19 issue of the Marlin Chronicle.