College professor accused of ISIS ties speaks out to media
Associate history professor Julio Pino addressed the investigation by speaking to media after one of his classes on Thursday.
Pino, who has been a history teacher at Kent State since 1992, is teaching two classes during the current spring semester, the first of which was a Senior History lecture Thursday morning.
All of the students in his small class appeared to already know about the investigation before class began, but most said it was only the second day for the course so they had not yet formed any first-hand opinions of Pino.
The FBI came to campus this week following a year-and-a-half investigation focusing on whether or not Pino has an association with the Islamic State and whether he may have used his position to influence students at the university.
Following his first class on Thursday, Pino agreed to answer a few questions, denying any association with ISIS and rejecting any claim that he has recruited students.
"I wish to say for the record that none of these allegations have any basis whatsoever. I have no ties to any political organization either here in the United States or abroad. I have never discussed the politics of Islam the Islamic State or any other political organization with the students, with the faculty or with anyone else on campus," said Pino.
Pino said he converted to the Muslim faith in 2000.
In writings since 1992, he has openly sympathized with a Palestinian suicide bomber. He interupted a speech by an Israeli diplomat shouting "death to Israel," and on social media has been very critical of the United States.
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In response to the capture of Osama Bin Laden, he wrote in 2011: "There was dancing in the streets in the United States, chants of USA ! USA! USA! This fascist mentality is reminiscent of Hitler's Nazi Germany. Americans claim that the death of Osama Bin Laden was a victory in the fight against the problem of international terrorism. There is no problem of international terrorism; there is the problem of the United States."
On Thursday, he said he views social media as "entertainment" and feels his posts can be misinterpreted.
"I do not endorse violence; I do not advocate violence nor do I practice it, and I have always tried to fulfill my duties which are to my family, to this community, to this university and quite honestly, to my students and I shall do so for as long as I am able to," said Pino.
Even though they are aware of the investigation, several of his students told Fox 8 News that they would not consider removing themselves from his classroom because they need the class to graduate.
Pino is not charged with any crime and is a tenured professor so Kent State University is not going to remove him from the classroom.
In a statement, Kent State President Beverly Warren has assured students and parents that the FBI has said there is no threat to campus.
On social media, however, some Kent State students have stated their intention to present the university with petitions asking Pino to resign.
On Thursday, Fox 8 confronted him with the question of whether he would consider that if the students requested it.
"No sir. That's a question of speculation so we are not going there," Pino told Fox 8.
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