In the hours after Barbara Bush died yesterday, people from around the world began expressing their condolences and sharing their warm memories of the Bush family matriarch, even if they didn't share her political views.
Former President Bill Clinton, the man who once campaigned against her husband, called her "a remarkable woman" with "grit & grace, brains & beauty." Another former president, Barack Obama, said she had "humility and decency that reflects the very best of the American spirit."
But a creative writing professor at Fresno State University had a message for those offering up fond remembrances:
"Barbara Bush was a generous and smart and amazing racist who, along with her husband, raised a war criminal," Randa Jarrar wrote on Twitter, according to the Fresno Bee.
Jarrar's words - and others that she used as she argued with critics during a tweetstorm - sparked a backlash on social media that would soon prompt the university to distance itself from her remarks. More than 2000 people had replied to her, the Bee reported. Many tagged Fresno State and the institution's president, Joseph Castro, demanding that the professor be fired.
According to the Bee, Jarrar taunted them, sharing a contact number that was actually that of a suicide hotline, and said she was a tenured professor who makes US$100,000 a year.
"I will never be fired," she said, according to the report, which noted that Jarrar describes herself as an Arab American and a Muslim American in her Twitter messages.
Some people, of course, took issue with what Jarrar said about Bush. Others were upset at what they viewed as Jarrar's incivility about a woman widely regarded as genteel. For others, the sin was more basic: She had spoken ill of the dead.
Jarrar did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
The contact page of her website said: "I do not read or respond to messages about Barbara Bush" next to a heart emoji.
People found other ways to strike back at her, though. The rating on the Amazon page for Jarrar's book took a precipitous drop after it received a slew of bad reviews in the wake of her comments. "Prosaic, poorly-written, poor grammar, incoherent," one reviewer said. "Will make for expensive toilet paper."
Word of her comments about Bush had also made it to her page on ratemyprofessors.com.
"Jarrar's racist rants disrupt the learning environment at Fresno," a commenter wrote after Jarrar's Bush comments. "ANY other English prof would be better than this one, especially after her disrespectful comments lately. I would avoid this class at all costs, Randa makes it clear that she hates white people. Myopic views, self centered, and needs to be fired."
Amid the barrage of criticism, some defended Jarrar.
Fresno State responded to the controversy, tweeting a statement by Castro that said Jarrar's words are "obviously contrary to the core values of our University" and they "were made as a private citizen."
In a news conference, Provost Lynnette Zelezny said the university had put in place "additional security," a common action "when we feel that there's a spotlight on us."
As the provost spoke, the points Jarrar had made about Barbara Bush were still reverberating around the Internet. She brought up, for example, Bush's statements about the mostly black evacuees taking refuge in Houston's Astrodome during Hurricane Katrina.
Bush made statements that many viewed as insensitive after her son George W. Bush's Administration was criticised for its slow response to Katrina in 2005. Barbara Bush told the public radio programme Marketplace that the evacuees who'd fled their homes and were being sheltered in Houston's Astrodome "were underprivileged anyway, so this is working very well for them."
Despite Jarrar's tweet about her tenure, her future interactions with students may be in question.
Zelezny did not detail any disciplinary actions against Jarrar, saying only that the next step was to sit down with "all represented parties."
But she put to rest one of the biggest questions: Whether Jarrar's tenure at the university meant she could say whatever she wanted on the Internet.
"To answer the technical question: Can she not be fired? The answer is no."