A United States university professor involved in the 'white genocide' tweet scandal has said on Tuesday, 27 December, that he has support of his university. George Ciccariello-Maher, a white associate professor of history and politics at Drexel University, also said that the administrators have said that he has a right to take part in political debate.

Ciccariello-Maher's tweet – "All I Want for Christmas is White Genocide" – which he posted on Christmas eve sparked a blaze of criticism from the school and social media. He was condemned widely for his "deeply disturbing" post, but the professor said in his defence that his only aim was to poke fun at white supremacists.

Ciccariello-Maher – who is an expert on Latin American social movements with about 10,000 Twitter followers – said in an email that he had spoken with Drexel administrators about the tweet.

They "reiterated their support for faculty who participate in vigorous public debate, as well as concern for the safety of myself, my family, and others in this unpredictable post-election climate," he added.

Representatives of the school that has more than 26,000 students refused to comment on the outrage.

Earlier, Drexel called the tweet "utterly reprehensible" and said in a statement, "While the University recognises the right of its faculty to freely express their thoughts and opinions in public debate, Professor Ciccariello-Maher's comments [...] do not in any way reflect the values of the University".

Defending the professor, Bret Grote, his lawyer, said Drexel's criticism was in response to an online campaign orchestrated by the far right activists who have been encouraged by the recent presidential elections won by Republican Donald Trump.

Ciccariello-Maher "is taking a very consistent and principled opposition to those whose identity, ideology and political platform is based on the systematic suppression of the rights and humanity of people of color," Grote added.

Ciccariello-Maher has online support, with a Change.org petition, where he has received about 7,400 signatures by Tuesday. In his website, he has listed himself as a writer and "radical political theorist". He has written several books on Venezuela, including We Created Chavez: A People's History of the Venezuelan Revolution and Building the Commune: Radical Democracy in Venezuela.