“A Privilege To Teach Future Dead Cops”: John Jay Professor Placed On Leave After Disturbing Tweet


Issacson drew national attention with an appearance on Fox News’ “Tucker Carlson Tonight” show.   When the New York Daily News contacted Issacson, he was dismissive of the concerns: “Oh, that shit? Everybody dies.”  He added:

“I was talking about police as an agent of control that is actually in less control of the public than it’s supposed to be. I don’t have a problem with individual police officers – I mean, I teach them – but I don’t like policing as an institution. Police officers are agents of that institution.”

Issacson has appeared on a couple of Fox shows and admitted that he is a leader of Smash Racism DC, an organization accused of fostering violence.  He identifies himself as an anarcho-communist and spews the same low-grade and jingoistic platitudes common to the Antifa movement.  Issacson insists that the anti-speech activities of the Antifa are “self-defense.”  He does touch on his teaching in this interview:


He does not that he has taught “alt-right” students and has not discriminated against them.  There is no allegation that he has been biased in his classroom.

John_Jay_logoHowever, in a statement on the controversy John Jay College’s president, Karol V. Mason has stated

“Today, members of the John Jay faculty received threats, and our students expressed concerns for their safety in the classroom. Out of concern for the safety of our students, faculty and staff, we are immediately placing the adjunct on administrative leave as we continue to review this matter.”

 I am not sure that I concur in that rationale. It is one thing for the school to review Issacson’s status in light of his references to the school and his students.  It is entirely a different matter to say that the school will put an academic on leave when his views generate opposition in the public.  That is allowing the mob to control curriculum and faculty — precisely what Antifa has been accused of fostering.
Nevertheless, Issacson has acknowledged that he did put his school at risk:
“My biggest regret is putting my students and the John Jay faculty and staff at risk. That was not a risk that they assumed voluntarily, and that very much contravenes my political convictions. I deeply apologize to the John Jay community for making them the target of death threats and harassment.”
In another interview, Issacson expresses concern over his co-workers and insists that he wants help his students.  He does indicate that he does not want his students to become police officers but does support their becoming fire fighters.

The issue of academic freedom looms large in such controversies.  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.

There remains an undefined line of what academics are allowed to say on social media or public forums.  The danger is that schools will engage in content-based discrimination or, even worse, use public reactions to determine what is permissible or not permissible. What makes the Issacson case a bit different is his reference to his students and classes including not just the “dead cop” comments but not wanting students to become police officers (which is a large portion of students at the college).


70 thoughts on ““A Privilege To Teach Future Dead Cops”: John Jay Professor Placed On Leave After Disturbing Tweet”

  1. Right.

    So if Michael Isaacson opposes policing, what would he do if someone broke into his house shouting he was going to murder him? He’s a Leftist, but also a part of a violent organization, so I don’t know where that puts him on the 2nd Amendment. So….no cops…no firearm self defense…what’s he going to do? Or since he’s an anarchist, maybe he just wants everyone to take the law into their own hands then? And if he sees speech as threat, and violence against speech to be self defense, does that mean that cops can kick his butt because they viewed his speech as threatening, and they were just defending themselves?

    Isaacson strikes me as someone who hasn’t spent enough time talking with different viewpoints and opinions. He seems to get agitated with disagreement.

    An employee’s free speech acts may have the consequence of damage to an employer’s business and/or reputation. That should be actionable. There are employers, like our government, who require their employees to post their opinions anonymously. There is certainly room to debate on free speech in academia. Isaacson specifically mentioned his job in his Tweet, which dragged his employer into this. The question also arises of fairness with students and the double standard with conservatives. I also question his claim that some of his students belong to the alt right. The fashion nowadays is to call anyone you disagree with a Fascist, Alt Right, Racist, etc.

    I would not send my kid to a college where professors thought cops should die, or seemed pleased at their deaths. Is this a hard Left madrassa or an institute of higher learning? They should check their personal biases at the door and go to work.

    Academia is the world where offensive words require tears, safe spaces, teddy bears, counseling, and bubbles. So why does this professor feel so free to sling out his own offensive words, and then blow off criticism? I’m sorry, are words dangerous or not?

  2. Isn’t it ironic that “The Nutty Professor,” an Obama acolyte, busy “fundamentally transforming” America with a vengeance, is employed by John Jay College, whose namesake was instrumental in making Obama ineligible for the presidency, with George Washington, placing a “strong check” against foreign allegiances, knowing that the presidential “natural born citizen” requirement, per the Law of Nations, Book 1, Ch 19, Sec 212, stated that “…it is necessary that a person be born of a father who is a citizen;…”

    Of course, we all know that Obama was not eligible for the presidency because his father was a foreign citizen of a foreign country with foreign allegiances; most importantly an “anti-Colonialist,” the African equivalent of being “anti-American.”

    Had America an honest, truthful and ethical Supreme Court, acting with fidelity to the Constitution, Obama and his redistributionist, radical, extremist, anarchist comrades would have been far less emboldened; perhaps even prosecuted for the fraud, deceit, falsification, nullification, usurpation and treason they have perpetrated.


    To George Washington from John Jay, 25 July 1787
    From John Jay

    New York 25 July 1787

    Dear Sir

    I was this morning honored with your Excellency’s Favor of the 22d Inst: & immediately delivered the Letter it enclosed to Commodore Jones, who being detained by Business, did not go in the french Packet, which sailed Yesterday.

    Permit me to hint, whether it would not be wise & seasonable to provide a strong check to the admission of Foreigners into the administration of our national Government, and to declare expressly that the Command in chief of the american army shall not be given to, nor devolved on, any but a natural born Citizen.

    Mrs Jay is obliged by your attention, and assures You of her perfect Esteem & Regard—with similar Sentiments the most cordial and sincere I remain Dear Sir Your faithful Friend & Servt

    John Jay

  3. I think when this guy, Michael Isaacson, is 70 years old, that he will still think the same way that he does today. I do not think that any new ideas, or insights will ever be able to make it inside his skull.

    As Leo Tolstoy once said, “The most difficult subjects can be explained to the most slow-witted man if he has not formed any idea of them already; but the simplest thing cannot be made clear to the most intelligent man if he is firmly persuaded that he already knows, without a shadow of a doubt, what is laid before him.

    Squeeky Fromm
    Girl Reporter

    1. Squeeky – Tolstoy must have been responding to a critic on one of his books. 😉

    2. I think when this guy, Michael Isaacson, is 70 years old, that he will still think the same way that he does today.

      You’re remembering Michael Berg. A crew in Iraq murdered his son on camera in the most gruesome way imaginable and the old red blamed…George W. Bush.

      One problem with young fools is that they often turn into old fools.

  4. Is this guy a professor or a homeless person? He should have been fired, not because of what he said, but because he embarrassed the school by appearing on television dressed like a hobo. As a general rule of male presentment, if one is going to appear in public either grow a beard or shave. The five-day growth look may work at the resort. It will not work in a professional setting. Speaking of hair, combing it is normally in order for public appearances. Otherwise, his employer (and the rest of the world) will think “How can this guy handle this job. He can’t even handle his own hair”.

    1. Vince Jankoski – no self-respecting anarchist would have either shaved or bathed. He probably hasn’t changed clothes in a week. Sitting downwind of him could have been rough on the senses.

    2. Did you notice his fingernails were painted black? Where is nail polish discussed in the “general rule of male presentment”? 🙂

      1. Are you sure that was paint? Maybe it was just dirt used to accessorize the overall outfit.

  5. Gag, the guy is a mindless poseur. By Tucker Carlson allowing him to get on the TEE VEE he invited him to ruin himself. Good job, Tucker. That’s one of the best reasons for free speech.

  6. I watched a good portion of an interview he did on the Kennedy show on Fox. He was fast-talking, smug, and most of the points he was trying to make were lost in the delivery.Kennedy appeared to have prepared questions and her follow-ups didn’t seem to match his responses. The one valid point he had was that the role of police was to protect property. I didn’t see then or before that he personally threatened anyone. I can’t picture him presenting a coherent message throughout a single class, let alone a semester.

    On another note, Turley needs an editor badly.

  7. The fact that he applied for and took a position at an institution that provides supplementary training for police officers and preparatory training for aspirant police officers marks him as an institutional parasite and a remarkably arrogant opportunist. Why are there so many arrested development cases in academe?

  8. John Jay College has two sides. Half of it is a generic public college and the other half is an institution that specializes in academic and vocational disciplines which surround public safety employment. The last time I scanned it’s faculty pages, it did seem that some of its specifically academic departments had taken on a red haze character and that it’s economics faculty seemed rather fringe. (The New School is a redoubt of fringe economics).

    The man’s a jack-wagon, of course. The question for the rest of us is why academic institutions are such collecting pools of jack-wagons.

  9. I knew a criminal justice major as he lived across the street for 4 years. I have no idea what he learned as he didn’t seem any different for the 4 years. He intends to be a professional fire fighter. What does that have to do with criminal justice?

  10. Why aren’t universities considered corporations?
    They sure seem to be acting like they are regarding their work place behavior rules.

  11. Poster Child For the left wing extremists? Wonder what Comrade Stalin and Comrade Hitler would have done with this one?

  12. He should be terminated. He has threatened his students. What more does John Jay want?

    1. Paul, you have taught classes, don’t you think the whole adjunct thing is a questionably short sighted financial experiment that has failed miserably?
      I look at the behavior of these adjuncts and I can’t help but think they are just spices instead of the actual main meal itself.
      You know, “Here’s the veal, the way this guy serves it didn’t go over on the menu and the Yelp reviews were horrible so were going to revamp the dish and ajust the seasoning”.
      I’m still not sure what makes obtaining a PhD and then go into teaching so attractive.

      1. Roscoe Coltrane – adjunct faculty are why professors get big salaries. Adjunct are paid peanuts and if your class doesn’t make, oh well, no job. If you are a professor and your class doesn’t make, oh well, just take one from an adjunct.

    2. What blows me away the most is these numb nuts’ ability to dehumanize others. Police are also people, fathers, husbands, members of a community. They are also people that for the most part would still try to protect this guy’s sorry butt even though he hates them. There is indeed a difference between opinion and flat-out hate. Most (not all) conservative speakers have fallen on the former side. This nutjob has no business teaching someone how to knit. It needn’t be codified into law, good judgement will suffice, but he is literally preaching violence and again, dehumanization. I hope his leave is permanent, he wouldn’t last five seconds in the regular working world.

    3. He hasn’t threatened his students, except inasmuch as some responded to his speech with threats of violence. If you want to punish him for how others responded to his speech, then you are endorsing the exact same argument used by those (on the left) who want to ban speech that inspires, or may inspire, violence. (It’s basically the “heckler’s veto” in extreme form.)

      1. Do you think it’s rather rum that someone who has a contempt for the police so intense he’d like to see them dead is employed by an institution which incorporates security training into its programmatic signatures? Yes or No?

        What do think he was asked and what do you think he told them during his interview?

        1. I didn’t take a position on whether he should be fired. My argument is that he shouldn’t be fired for the reason that Paul C Schulte gave.

              1. No, but not being an evasive prick does. They’re perfectly ordinary questions.

                1. Whoa, I thought civility was the rule here. I’m just trying to stick to my point. Your questions have nothing to do with it. But if you look below, I also said that the professor displayed contempt for his students, and that would be a good enough reason to fire him. I was just quarreling with the reason that Schulte gave for firing. And in the end, he made it clear that he doesn’t give a damn about reason(s). So, I won’t be wasting time with him anymore.

                  1. , I also said that the professor displayed contempt for his students,

                    Which isn’t an answer to my question either. There’s a reason you don’t want to answer those questions, Dr. Benson.

                    1. No way is this person Benson. Benson can’t string two coherent sentences together. And certainly is incapable of posting on the topic of the thread.

          1. yyy – you are taking a position on whether he should be fired or not by not supporting my very valid reason.

                1. But the point this time is that, by rejecting your reason, I’m not taking a position on whether he should be fired.

      2. yyy – he did threaten his students and John Jay’s excuse is just hearsay at this point. We have not seen any of the treats, Who they were directed at, etc.

        1. He “threatened” his students in the exact same way that the “alt-right” threatens blacks and immigrants (etc.) That’s the argument you’re embracing. I don’t think you want to do that.

          1. yyy – do you have a quote from someone from the alt-right threatening to kill blacks or illegal aliens? Please cite.

            1. “I think it’s a privilege to teach future dead cops.” He’s not personally threatening to kill cops. The “threat” is that his statement might inspire others to do so.

              1. yyy – if I had said that to my students when I was teaching, I would have been out the door so fast, I wouldn’t have even seen it coming. Substitute future dead gang-bangers for future dead cops.

                1. If you think your termination would have been proper with gang-bangers substituted for cops, then you’re being consistent. All I’m saying is that you are thereby endorsing the reasoning of leftists who shut down right-wing speakers because their “hate speech” inspires violence. I disagree strongly with those leftists. This situation is complicated by the fact that the professor’s speech bears directly on his job. So, it’s probably proper that he be fired. But not for the reason that he threatened his students. He insulted them; he displayed contempt for them. That would be a good enough reason.

                  1. Leaving the unproven “hate speech inspires violence” claim aside, the leftists are trying to shut down speakers that nobody is actually forced to go hear. Some students may have no alternative but to take this loser’s class and therefore have to listen to his ridiculous ideology. They are having to pay to hear this crap. Not equivalent.

                    1. And you assume the professor limited his ideological (and offensive) comments to the twittersphere?

                    2. “And you assume the professor limited his ideological (and offensive) comments to the twittersphere?”

                      No. But you’re assuming he didn’t, and you can’t convict someone based on an assumption.

                      Furthermore, according to the statement by John Jay’s president, the professor has been placed on leave only for “recent statements made … on social media, television and in the press.” No mention is made of his classroom behavior or his general ideology. So, that’s what the debate is about: to what extent he should be punished by his employer for “abhorrent” statements he made while not on the job. This is an issue that Turley has been wrestling with. Anyone who cares deeply about free speech will at least give it a moment’s thought.

                    3. Oh, I have thought about it. Unless the school had a no-tolerance policy for this kind of out-of-classroom advocacy, I don’t think it is fair to summarily dismiss the professor without some sort of further fact-finding or evaluation process. This would necessarily involve interviewing Dr. Isaacson, his associates, and his students, present and past, if possible. But the professor’s interview on Tucker’s show gives one the impression that he is open about his anarchist/antifa ideology, so I think it fairly likely, albeit unprovable, that he makes comments in class that are similar to what he tweeted. Dr. Isaacson doesn’t seem to be able to compartmentalize his thoughts and act accordingly.

                    4. yyy – back when dinosaurs roamed the earth and I was first going to college, I was semi-hazed into an honorary organization. I say semi-hazed because 1) they weren’t supposed to do it in honoraries and 2) we all participated gladly. 🙂 However, we were all instructed to ditch our student ID because if something went pear-shaped and the cops were called we didn’t want the school involved. That meant expulsion.

  13. His disingenuous reply, once cornered, “Oh, that s___? Everybody dies!” is crap. What exactly does an Anarcho-Communist want to do to those people specifically hired to protect the existing “establishment?” Eradicate them of course. I would beware any of his so-called “teachings.” Economics? Come on! Is he going to try to show in class how successful socialist/communist economic systems are in competition with capitalism? Get rid of this jerk. Let him get a real job.

  14. This quote from the good professor sums it up perfectly: ” The danger is that schools will engage in content-based discrimination or, even worse, use public reactions to determine what is permissible or not permissible.”
    I’m pretty sure that is happening 24/7 in the world of aca-nemia.

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Res ipsa loquitur – The thing itself speaks
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