Clemson Professor Under Fire For Calling All Republicans “Racist Scum”

We have been discussing the disciplining of professors for their statements on social media and the concern that there are different standards being applied in such cases.  As many of you know, I take a robust view of free speech rights and have been critical of the monitoring and punishment of teachers for expressing their political and social views outside of campus. The latest such controversy comes from Clemson University where Assistant Professor Bart Knijnenburg went on Facebook to call Trump supporters and Republicans generally “racist scum.”

Ironically, his bio page begins with discussing the difficult decisions raised by social media (which notably does not include refraining from calling millions of people scum):

Our online lives are full of small but difficult decisions. Which app should I install? Should I post this on Facebook or not? Which YouTube video should I watch? What will this e-commerce website do with my personal information? In my research I try to understand the psychological principles behind these online decisions. Using Big Data and Machine Learning principles, I try to make these decisions a little easier with better user interfaces and “smart defaults”. ran screen grabs from Twitter and Facebook from Knijnenburg, who teaches  Human-Centered Computing. One Facebook entry from Aug. 16th asserting “All trump supporters, nay, all Republicans, are racist scum.” He later added “All republicans? Yes. Your complacency made this happen. Pick a side: denounce your affiliation, or admit you’re a racist.”  When a commenter who is believed to be a student expressed his sadness at the remarks, Knijnenburg responded with “You should come live in the south for a while. It’s exhausting. The republican ideology of ‘everyone is equal and nobody deserves a handout’ is naive at best, covertly racist at worst. I truly believe that turning a blind eye makes you complicit in what is happening now.”  Knijnenburg used the hashtag to say PunchNazis and how much he admires violence counterprotesters:  “I admire anyone who stands up against white supremacy, Violent or non-violent. This needs to stop, by any means necessary. #PunchNazis”

The reference to admiring violence is enough to put anyone into hot water with a University Administration.  The issue however remains what comments are subject to discipline and what comments are viewed as free speech.

As we have previously discussed (including the recent controversies involving an Oregon professor and a Drexel professor), there remains an uncertain line in what language is protected for teachers in their private lives. The incident also raises what some faculty have complained is a double or at least uncertain standard. We have previously discussed controversies at the University of California and Boston University, where there have been criticism of a double standard, even in the face of criminal conduct. There were also such incident at the University of London involving Bahar Mustafa as well as one involving a University of Pennsylvania professor.

Students are still not sure that Knijnenburg will return to teach classes that begin on Wednesday.


129 thoughts on “Clemson Professor Under Fire For Calling All Republicans “Racist Scum””

  1. Freedom of speech doesn’t mean freedom from consequences. Getting fired from your job for being an obvious idiot unfit to teach students is not a 1st amendment issue.

  2. All of these have one thing in common. They fail to mention the measuring system is that OF the Left who consider the center of the left to be the center of the libereal socialist universe. The term conservative to them means anyone who disagrees with progressive socialist liberalism or it’s antecedents National and Interenational Socialism.

    To a independent self governing citizen of the United States of America and it’s Representative Constitutional Republic system of government the obvious center is the Constitution which puts the left a long ways out of touch with the center the closest being the Republicans In Name Only RINOs.

    That other bunch out beyond them are not adherents to our system of government but hold allegiance to some form or another of foreign ideologies. imported primarily from Europe. Unfortunately they control the education and majority of the propaganda systems …. but the they never make sense and are constantly changing on a daily basis using the pre-programmed Collective system of control and a ruling class of a supposedly classless society.

    Not that hard to understand.when you apply proper definitions and remember our oath of allegiance and oaths of office.

  3. What on earth is “Human cantered computing”? Ever notice that these idiotic proclamations come fro. Professors in nothing? Eventually the market will notice it too and enrollment in colleges with the sort of deadweight on their payrolls, will see a massive decline in profitability.
    No wonder student debt is burying this generation.

  4. This is a great and impassioned plea for freedom of speech. It has a lot of information which is useful as well. Here is part of it, the part this professor doesn’t want to honor: “Unfortunately, we don’t honor that principle as much as we should today. In fact, we seem to be witnessing a politically correct philosophy at play, one shared by both the extreme left and the extreme right, which aims to stifle all expression that doesn’t fit within their parameters of what they consider to be “acceptable” speech.

    There are all kinds of labels put on such speech—it’s been called politically incorrect speech, hate speech, offensive speech, and so on—but really, the message being conveyed is that you don’t have a right to express yourself if certain people or groups don’t like or agree with what you are saying.

    Hence, we have seen the caging of free speech in recent years, through the use of so-called “free speech zones” on college campuses and at political events, the requirement of speech permits in parks and community gatherings, and the policing of online forums.

    Clearly, this elitist, monolithic mindset is at odds with everything America is supposed to stand for.

    Indeed, we should be encouraging people to debate issues and air their views. Instead, by muzzling free speech, we are contributing to a growing underclass of Americans—many of whom have been labeled racists, rednecks and religious bigots—who are being told that they can’t take part in American public life unless they “fit in.”

    Remember, the First Amendment acts as a steam valve. It allows people to speak their minds, air their grievances and contribute to a larger dialogue that hopefully results in a more just world. When there is no steam valve to release the pressure, frustration builds, anger grows and people become more volatile and desperate to force a conversation.

    The attempt to stifle certain forms of speech is where we go wrong.”

  5. OK, here is something that you will not find anywhere else on the Internet. I had to type it in my word processor from an old poetry book, The Dust Dancers by Jack Anderson. Sooo, you might want to copy and paste it somewhere, because there are only like 3 copies of that book for sale, and this is not one of the poems on his Poetry Foundation page. There are many ways to interpret a poem, and I interpret this one as a “staring into the abyss and the abyss stares back” psychological study. Which, might help explain the mindset of this particular hate-filled, violence loving Professor, and a whole host of neo-fascist Liberals and SJWs. Or not.

    A Poem of Hitler
    by Jack Anderson

    If you consider yourself a moral being
    you dream constantly of Hitler; you dream
    of waking up
    to find yourself under Hitler,
    of Hitler nursing the babies, counting noses,
    leading children by the hand
    down the hall and through the big doors,
    Hitler collecting tickets on the train,
    Hitler cooking, baking, feeding fires, Hitler operating
    a motor vehicle, Hitler filling up the tank,
    Hitler fixing faucets, emptying ashtrays, training dogs,
    Hitler blessing you, marrying you, Hitler on your
    and you down the last drink he poured you, and he
    pours you
    another, but you can’t stop thinking about Hitler.
    you wonder
    what his breath could have smelled like, what
    brand of soap he used,
    how often he changed his underwear or socks-
    and when you look around you there is Hitler,
    Hitler come
    to give you your bath, Hitler wishing on a star,
    Hitler taking your pulse, Hitler covering you
    with a sheet,
    Hitler watering flowers on your grave:
    then you wake up in a cold sweat screaming,
    “Hitler! Hitler!”
    until you realize it’s all a dream
    as, mopping your temples, Hitler murmurs,
    “Lie still and let me be
    your inspiration now.”

    Squeeky Fromm
    Girl Reporter

  6. We all have freedom of speech. But I’m not sure there is a constitutional protection against the consequences of our speech.

    If you think universities should ignore the potential consequences of the conduct of professors or students, check out the enrollment numbers at the University of Missouri/

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