Before you start using quotes from last night’s Game of Thrones around the office or on social media today, consider the repercussions that Professor Francis Schmidt is facing.
Schmidt, a longtime professor at Bergen Community College, was suspended without pay after posting a photo of his daughter wearing a t-shirt with these infamous words written across the front:
"I will take what is mine with fire and blood," spoken by Daenerys Stormborn of House Targaryen during Season 3 Episode 7 — is a well-known quote among GoT fans. So well-known, in fact, that it is a meme and is printed on a t-shirt. But it seems that many administrators at Bergen Community College are not familiar with Khaleesi.
The photo of his 7-year old daughter was labeled as a “threatening email” by school administrators. Schmidt was suspended shortly after meeting with school officials, during which he tried to convey the notoriety of the Game of Thrones series and the quote in question.
As Inside Higher Ed first reported last week, Schmidt then received an email notifying him of the unpaid suspension, effective immediately.
When Schmidt asked why the photo was considered threatening, one security official said that “fire” can be interpreted as “AK-47s.”
A quick scan of Schmidt’s Google+ page provides some useful context: the most recent photos are of cats, pancakes and homemade posters featuring an adorable chipmunk dressed up as Uncle Sam, saying “I Want You to Vote for [Schmidt’s son] As Student Body President.”
After being suspended for 8 days, during which time he was required to get cleared by a psychiatrist, Schmidt is back at work. His one request to Bergen Community College administrators? Watch a little more TV.
Alexandra DiPalma is a producer for Fusion Lightworks, Fusion’s In-house Branded Content Agency.