Friday, March 18, 2016

Professors Joy Karega, Melissa Click, Merille Miller-Young, Saida Grundy, Susan J. Douglas, Steven Salaita, and Ward Churchill: The Un-Magnificent Seven

The University of Missouri Board of Curators voted last week 4:2 to terminate Assistant Professor Melissa Click. Professor Click joins Professor Stephen Salaita and Ward Churchill in the ranks of terminated professors while four others have survived outrageous statements or acts. Professor Click received national attention last fall during the Black protests at the University of Missouri. She stopped Tim Tai, a photographer, who said he had a right to cover the protest in the public space. The video shows her inciting students to yell “Hey, hey, ho, ho, reporters have got to go.” She grabbed the camera of another photographer, proclaiming “You need to get out.” She then screamed out “Who wants to help me get this reporter out of here. I need some muscle over here.” A video subsequently emerged from an earlier protest when a police officer placed a hand on her shoulder and said “Get out of the road or get arrested.” She responded “Get your ... hands off me.” She held a courtesy appointment with the Missouri School of Journalism and a regular appointment in the Department of Communications. Her video became the poster child for conservatives. The Republican state legislature was outraged by her conduct. The threat was made to cut the University of Missouri budget by the amount of her salary as well as those of her chair and dean. The Board of Curators recognized her First Amendment Freedom of Speech rights, but explained “However, Dr. Click was not entitled to interfere with the rights of others, to confront members of law enforcement or to encourage potential physical intimidation against a student.” Academic freedom and the First Amendment Freedom of Speech do not protect inciting violence. Journalists, above all others, should value the Freedom of the Press. On the other hand, faculty members at the University of Missouri support Professor Click and decry the lack of due process in her termination. Professor Click published a letter in the Washington Post yesterday. She just doesn’t get it. She explained she had “inexperience with public protests.” Is it because she doesn’t know the difference between Freedom of Speech in a peaceful protest versus incitement to violence? Or is it because protestors are so used to getting away with it on campuses that they are surprised when repercussions occur? She also said: “I am also working to come to terms with how a few captured moments of imperfection could eclipse 12 years of excellence.” It happens all the time in the criminal justice system and Tort Law. Acts have consequences. As part of her apologia she said “But I do not understand the widespread impulse to shame those whose best intentions unfortunately result in imperfect actions.” Did Professor Click never learn the maxim that the Road to Hell is paved with good intentions? And not a word about the University President and the distinguished Provost who lost their jobs at Mizzou. Professor Click's appeal to the Board for a reversal was quickly rejected. A pro-life protest took place in a free speech zone on the campus of University of California Santa Barbara on March 4, 2015. The protesters from Survivors of the Abortion Holocaust held up graphic pictures of aborted fetuses and distributed pamphlets. This is graphic, tasteless, but protected speech. The protesters included a 16 year old and her 21 year old sister. Their mother is a vice president of the organization. Associate Professor Mireille Miller-Young teaches feminist studies at UCSB. Accompanied by a few students, she ripped the poster from the teenager and then pushed her. The confrontation was captured on a cell phone and went public. The professor initially claimed a moral right to act as she did, and later claimed she was affected by her pregnancy. Professor Miller-Young was subsequently charged with three criminal counts. A Vice Chancellor of UCSB, between the incident and the charges, emailed the students, warning of “offensive speech” and denounced “various anti-abortion crusaders.” Plaintiffs through discovery learnt that the UCSB not only did not discipline the professor, but also did not even open an investigation. The protesters filed a civil action against UCSB, the professor and the students. UCSB subsequently entered into a confidential settlement, which the plaintiffs termed very satisfactory. The University did not issue an apology. Professor Miller-Young pled guilty to three misdemeanors of grand theft person, vandalism, and battery, receiving a sentence of 108 hours of community service, 10 hours of anger management, and three years probation. We know a double standard exists in the Academy. We know all Hell would have broken loose on the UCSB campus if a pro-lifer ripped a banner out of the hands of a pro-choice demonstrator and then assaulted her. Professor Susan Douglas at the University of Michigan wrote a column in the January 2015 edition of The Times. It was entitled “It’s OK to Hate Republicans.” She wrote: “I hate Republicans. I can’t stand the thought of having to spend the next two years watching Mitch McConnell, John Boehner, Ted Cruz, Darrell Issa or any of the legions of the other blowhards denying climate change, thwarting immigration reform or championing fetal ‘personhood.” She added that while her views may seem biased “historical and psychological research back her up, and so it’s basically actually a fact that Republicans are bad.” She added that Republicans are really good at being mean because psychological studies show they usually have traits such as “dogmatism, rigidity, and intolerance of ambiguity.” I ask, which faculties and students are trying to silence speech and speakers on campus? Professor Douglas has signed a petition in support of Professor Click. Professor Saida Grundy with a Ph.D. from Michigan accepted a position at Boston University. She tweeted various comments, such as “Why is White America so reluctant to identify white college males as a problem population?” She said “White masculinity isn’t a problem for America’s colleges; white masculinity is The problem for America’s colleges.” She also wrote: “Every MLK week I commit myself to not spending a dime in white-owned businesses and every year I find it nearly impossible.” The University respected her right to speak, but expressed disappointment with her remarks. Professor Salaita received his Ph.D. in Native American Studies with a literature emphasis from the University of Oklahoma. He was a tenured professor of English at Virginia Tech when he penned controversial remarks in on August 25, 2013. He criticized “Support our Troops,” which he claimed was used to stifle debate over United States and foreign military actions. He took off on “unthinking patriotism.” He said that “In recent years I’ve grown fatigued of appeals on behalf of the troops, which intensify in proportion to the belligerence or potential unpopularity of the imperial adventure de jour.” The University respected his academic freedom and took no action against him, but clearly stated that his remarks do not “reflect the collective psyche of the Virginia Tech community.” Virginia Tech was not sorry to see him leave. Professor Salaita accepted an offer from the University of Illinois, sold his house, resigned from Virginia Tech, but prior to the confirmation by the University of Illinois Regents, tweeted vicious anti-Semitic remarks. Three Jewish teenagers were kidnapped and murdered on the West Bank. He tweeted: “You may be too refined to say it, but I’m not ….. I wish all the fucking west bank settlers will go missing.” Other tweets: “When will the attack on Gaza end? Who is left for Israelis to kill? This is the logic of genocide.” “Too much of the Israeli society is cheering the bloodletting in Gaza for me to make a firm distinction between the government and the people.” “Only Israel can murder around 300 children in the span of a few weeks and insist that it is the victim.” “Rednecks need a new slogan. Instead of ‘Kick their ass and take their gas,’ how about ‘#Gaza is a disaster, but Netanyahu is my master.” “Dear outraged Right Wingers, You should know that in addition to opposing Zionism, I support the decolonization of North America.” “Zionist uplift in America; every little Jewish boy and girl can grow up to be the leader of a murderous colonial regime. #Gaza.” “Jeffrey Goldberg’s column should have ended at the point end of a shiv.” His 2011 book is entitled “Israel’s Dead Soul.” A backlash ensued and Illinois’ Chancellor revoked his offer on the grounds that it had not been approved by the Board of Regents. Professor Salaita recently received a $600,000 settlement, with $275,000 to his attorneys, but no position at Illinois. Nor has he yet received an offer from any other college or university in the United States. Professor Churchill wrote a tract in which he referred to the 9/11 victims as “Little Eichmanns.” Professor Churchill was an academic fraud who passed himself off as an American Indian to take advantage of affirmative action and a position as a tenured professor at the University of Colorado. Freedom of Speech and academic freedom protected his statements. His academic deficiencies were known when he was tenured, so he could not be terminated on that basis. Instead, the University found academic misconduct on his part and used that to dismiss him. And now we have Assistant Professor of Rhetoric and Composition Joy Karega at Oberlin University. Professor Karega has posted several inflammatory, anti-Semitic remarks on Facebook. She said Israeli and Zionist Jews were responsible for both 9/11 and the Charly Hebdo attacks in Paris. She said ISIS is a creation of Mossad, the Israeli Secret Service. Oberlin’s President Marvin Krislov met with representatives of Jewish organizations in the Cleveland area. He issued a message recognizing her right to speak. He wrote: “I am a practicing Jew, grandson of an Orthodox rabbi. Members of our family were murdered in the Holocaust. As someone who has studied history, I cannot comprehend how any person could or would question its existence, its horrors, and the evil which caused it. I feel the same way about the anti-Semitic conspiracy theories ...” He added though: “I believe, as the American Association of University Professors says, that academic freedom is ‘the indispensable quality of institutions of higher education’ because it encourages free inquiry,, promotes the expansion of knowledge, and creates an environment in which learning and research can flourish.” Her remarks and President Krislow’s message did not go over well with the Trustees of Oberlin. The Board of Trustees issued a statement after the quarterly Board Meeting. It called her postings “anti-Semitic and abhorrent.” It deployed “anti-Semitism and all other forms of bigotry,” which “have no place at Oberlin.” Clyde McGregor, Chairman of the Board, said “These grave issues must be addressed expeditiously.” These less than magnificent seven academics reflect much of the leftwing bias prevalent in higher education today. The university is supposed to be a cathedral of learning. Minds are to be opened, and not closed. The university should be a center for reasoned discourse. Alternative views should be explored. Oberlin’s Board Chairman recognized “From its founding, Oberlin College has stood for inclusion, respect, and tolerance. We still do.” Unfortunately much of the Academy does not respect or observe these goals. The Academy is overwhelmingly liberal, much more liberal than the American public. A large number are to the left of Senator Bernie Sanders. Their progressive peers are the mainstream media and Hollywood. A virulent strain of rabid anti-Semitism is spreading through higher education. Professors Karega and Salaita reflect the bias. Many progressive professors believe they represent the mainstream of America. They’re wrong, but don’t recognize it because they teach in a radical echo chamber, listen to NPR, and read the New York Times. As students, they may learn their bias in the classroom and from their academic advisor. They pursue justice, blindly. They often bully, ostracize, or practice academic prejudice against conservatives.

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