Bassett published an article in South Atlantic Quarterly entitled "Stirring Up the Fires of Race Antipathy" in October of 1903. In the article, he spoke about improving race relations and gave praise to numerous African Americans. Near the end of the article, he wrote "...Booker T. Washington [is] the greatest man, save General Lee, born in the South in a hundred years..." This led to an outpouring of anger from powerful Democratic Party leaders as well as the media and public. Many demanded that Bassett be fired and encouraged parents to take their children out of the university. Due to immense public pressure, Bassett offered his resignation if the Board of Trustees requested that he do so. The Board of Trustees then held a meeting to decide the fate of Bassett. In the end, they voted 18-7 not to accept the resignation citing academic freedom. In their decision, they wrote, "We are particularly unwilling to lend ourselves to any tendency to destroy or limit academic liberty, a tendency which has, within recent years, manifested itself in some conspicuous instances, and which has created a feeling of uneasiness for the welfare of American colleges [...] We cannot lend countenance to the degrading notion that professors in American colleges have not an equal liberty of thought and speech with all other Americans." In 1905, President Theodore Roosevelt commended Trinity and Bassett's courageous stand for academic freedom while speaking to the university. He told the school, "You stand for Academic Freedom, for the right of private judgment, for a duty more incumbent upon the scholar than upon any other man, to tell the truth as he sees it, to claim for himself and to give to others the largest liberty in seeking after the truth."