Fresno State University Professor Remains Defiant After Court Ordered Fine and First Amendment Training

download1We previously discussed the case of Fresno State University Public Health Professor Dr. Gregory Thatcher recruited students to destroy pro-life messages written on the sidewalks and wrongly told the pro-life students that they had no free speech rights in the matter.  As I stated earlier, I find it extraordinary that the university did not seriously discipline or terminate Thatcher, but he still remains on the faculty.  A district court has now ordered Thatcher to pay $17,000 and undergo First Amendment training.  However, Thatcher remains defiant and the university appears complicit in his actions by the lack of disciplinary action.

The pro-life students had written messages on the sidewalk like “You CAN be pregnant & successful” and “Unborn lives matter” to “Women need love, NOT abortion.”  The lawsuit alleges that Thatcher got students from his 8 a.m. class to help remove the anti-abortion messages and that their chalk was taken away to write pro-choice slogans on the sidewalk.

The video below shows two students rubbing out the chalk statements despite the pro-life students saying that they have permission to write such messages.  The students seem entirely unconcerned that they are censoring speech and engaging in a grossly intolerant act.  Instead, they refer to their teacher as telling them that they should do so.  Thatcher then walks up.  If the encounter with students was chilling, the encounter with Thatcher is positively glacial.  Thatcher invokes the controversial restriction of free speech to “zones” and says that there is no free speech rights for this type of writing outside of that zone.  When the students explain that they have permission, he then proceed to rub out their messages and declared “you have permission to put it down — I have permission to get rid of it.”  It is a shocking and disgraceful demonstration by Thatcher and should be worthy of serious discipline.  However, we have seen repeatedly that faculty members have remained silent in the face of anti-free speech conduct directed toward conservatives or pro-life advocates.

In the video of the incident, Thatcher comes across as an intolerant bully who who used his position on campus to try to censor opposing views.

The money will largely go to attorneys’ fees for the victims, but Thatcher will pay $1,000 to Tasy and $1,000 to another student, Jesus Herrera.  Thatcher appeared unrepented in comments after the settlement.  He noted that he would not have to pay a cent from his own pocket and that any money would be paid by his insurance company.  He then added this disturbing comment:

“I did not, in any way, admit to any wrongdoing. I did agree to sit through a training seminar because I love to learn others’ thoughts and opinions.”

Of course, the “others’ thoughts and opinions” happen to be a basic respect for free speech — an area in which Thatcher appears to be both ignorant and intolerant.  Moreover, Thatcher did not appear to “love . . . . learn[ing] other’s thoughts and opinions” when he was taunting and censoring these pro-life activists.

It is equally clear that he remains contemptful of the free speech claims of the victims and equally undeterred in such matters.  His comments reveal a deeper problem at Fresno State University where faculty can lead students in seeking to censor opposing views and not face serious punishment.

milleryoungincident2The incident raises troubling memories of  the controversy surrounding the confrontation of Feminist Studies Associate Professor Mireille Miller-Young with pro-life advocates on campus of the University of California at Santa Barbara. Miller-Young led her students in attacking the pro-life display, stealing their display, and then committing battery on one of the young women.  She was convicted and sentenced for the crime.  Despite the shocking conduct of Miller-Young and the clear violation of the most fundamental values for all academics in guaranteeing free speech and associational rights, the faculty overwhelmingly supported Miller-Young and the university decided not to impose any meaningful discipline. To make matter worse, Michael D. Young, Vice Chancellor of Student Affairs, not only issued a statement that seemed to blame the victims but faculty defended Miller-Young’s conduct. Faculty and student defenders attacked the pro-life advocates and one even referred to them as “terrorists” who did not deserve free speech.  Miller-Young should have been fired but was instead lionized by faculty and students.

Like Miller-Young, Thatcher actively encouraged his students to deny others free speech rights.  In arguing that there could be no such free speech outside of the free speech zone, Thatcher appears unaware that the “free speech area” was eliminated two years ago.

Thatcher remains listed as faculty in the Department of Public Health.

38 thoughts on “Fresno State University Professor Remains Defiant After Court Ordered Fine and First Amendment Training”

  1. These attacks have to stop. I cannot believe how much California is a no-go zone for people who simply openly support Trump:

      1. “Anyone who supports The Donald is a fool.”

        Thanks for your continued enabling of post modernism and the associated discrimination. Is there any other person or group you would like to prejudge for us today, and possible let us know how their role in society should be marginalized, or possibly imprisoned?? Maybe fundamentalists? ___________ (insert Christian denomination here….) Cajuns? Suburbanites? Scooby Doo fans?

        Or you can just continue your mob mentality “fly-by-the-seat-of-your-pants-moment-to-moment” judging and punishment. Should look like Peking in the 70s shortly.

  2. When did chalking sidewalks become free speech?

    And so they had “permission”. Would the editor please provide details about the permit. Thanks.

    1. Ben Hyatt – graffiti is free speech. A landlord was fined for whitewashing over the graffiti on the graffiti on his building, which had been covered with it while it was unused. Chalk art is fairly new, about 10-12 years, but very nice.

      1. The issue in that case was failing to provide statutorily required notice. The law at issue required that notice be provided. That then gives the artist the opportunity to make arrangements to remove or document the art before destruction. While I disagree with the law applying to graffiti, the case is not as egregious as many of the news stories make it sound.

    2. Fresno State has a policy permitting people wishing to demonstrate to simply schedule it with the Scheduling Office. (It is not required for small demonstrations, but is suggested). It sounds like they are referring to that. Damaging property is not permitted, but chalk is commonly used as it is not considered damaging. As the professor did not interfere with those students who appropriated the chalk to write messages consistent with his own views, it does not appear that he believed he was enforcing some anti-chalking rule.

  3. Most murderous dictatorial governments usurp rights of the citizenry under the guise of peace and prosperity for all. They considered it fighting the good fight to censor.

    How many people are rotting in oubliettes because they wrote or voiced an opinion contrary to those in power?

    Fascism was a product of the hard Left. At its inception “Liberalism” referred to what we would consider close to Libertarianism nowadays. That is why Gentile criticized “Liberalism” in his writings. Rather than focusing on class struggle as the end goal, Fascism united everyone to pull for a common good. It used to be a single nation. Now it is Global Progressivism. Individual rights, including speech, were subordinated to this common goal.

    We saw this in modern times when the Left happily ceded extraordinary power to Obama in his uber presidency. It was a machiavellian fighting the good fight excuse. As long as it’s not Trump doing it, then it’s a blessed act. We saw Hillary Clinton get away with bribery, libel, and defrauding the election process, and that was again fighting the good fight.

    Here, we have censorship of free speech by a university professor Knight. If this was BLM speech, then clearly it would be a free speech matter. But since it was the other side of the abortion debate, then might makes right and damn the law and equality.

  4. “A district court has now ordered Thatcher to pay $17,000 and undergo First Amendment training.”
    ____________________________________________________________________________________

    If it is apparent that Professor Thatcher requires First Amendment training, it is exponentially more clear that the Supreme Court needs Constitution training.

    That training must start here: “The Congress shall have Power to lay and collect Taxes…to…provide for the…general Welfare…”

    This Clause omits and, thereby, deliberately excludes individual Welfare and this clause immutably precludes collecting taxes for individual Welfare making any and all forms of redistribution of wealth unconstitutional.

    A constitutional amendment is required to impose the communistic principle of redistribution of wealth on American citizens.
    ____________________________________________________________________________________

    Article I, Section 8, Clause 1:

    “The Congress shall have Power to lay and collect Taxes, Duties, Imposts and Excises, to pay the Debts and provide for the common Defence and general Welfare of the United States; but all Duties, Imposts and Excises shall be uniform throughout the United States.”

    1. “A democracy cannot exist as a permanent form of government. It can only exist until the people discover they can vote themselves largess out of the public treasury. From that moment on, the majority always votes for the canidate promising the most benefits from the public treasury, with the result that democracy always collapses over a loose fiscal policy–to be followed by a dictatorship.”

      – Alexander Fraser Tytler

      Following the recent U.S. Senate election with two democrat and no republican candidates, California is now a one-party, communist dictatorship commanded by “Dear Leader Jerry “Moonbeam” Brown. Dear Leader Brown’s Stormtroopers rule with impunity.

      “The ends justify the means.”

      – Leon Trotsky

  5. Another great example of the student being smarter than the teacher.

    As a state employee, Thatcher is subject to a sec. 1983 action. He is acting under color of state law to deprive someone of rights secured by the Constitution. I would love to see that lawsuit.

    The judge who fined Thatcher should also have ordered him to dress in a manner commensurate with a teaching position at a state university or at least to wear a shirt with a collar, long pants, and dress shoes while acting like a fool on campus.

  6. He noted that he would not have to pay a cent from his own pocket and that any money would be paid by his insurance company.

    I would like to see a copy of that insurance policy,I would think most don’t cover intentional acts, nor violation of another person’s civil rights.

    1. In California a public entity employee is entitled to indemnification by the employer except under limited circumstances.

  7. Gee, do you think his wife and kids feel free to express opposing views @ the dinner table? A guy like this is as likely to create fundamentalist Christian children as he is to produce someone of his ilk. Karma be a b!tch.

  8. Undergo First Amendment training? Are they going to prop open his eyes with toothpicks, duct tape his mouth and force him to listen to a Roy Moore campaign speech? If that training doesn’t include sending him into known gang territory to tag his not a free speech zone message to the locals, then he’s likely not going to have that significant emotional event that would inspire him to change.

    His a$$ still needs to be fired!

  9. I think you are seeing true “white privilege” in action. He says his views are inarguable. ????? I guess it’s not a stretch to assume ALL of his views are inarguable.

    Nice school.

  10. I think Thacher himself said it best: “College campuses are
    NOT free speech areas!” So why are professors tenured? And why do we waste taxpayer funds on these imbeciles! Wake up California!

  11. I think Thacher himself said it best himself: “College campuses are
    NOT free speech areas!” So why are professors tenured? And why do we waste taxpayer funds on these imbeciles! Wake up California!

  12. Take heart. This evil is, but just for a short time. Jesus has ALREADY defeated satan, ALL of his evil schemes, and ALL sin at the Cross. All eyes in Jesus.

  13. Higher education is overbuilt generally. (New York and Illinois are exceptions, but there are problem campuses in their systems as well). When your system is overbuilt, there’s a simple solution to these problems: shut the entire campus down.

  14. Dressed like that he is a public health menace. I thought the dress standards at ASU were low, but how low can Fresno State go. I do hope his training seminar is in a red state. Although, in CA it would be more likely that conservatives would be forced to take training then liberals, so maybe he will be surrounded by the enemy in his groups. What I find especially upsetting, is sending his students out to do his scut work. Involving your students takes it to a whole different level of hell. You NEVER get your students involved in a potentially illegal act, since they can be suspended or expelled faster than a tenured professor can be fired. This is the sign of a very bad teacher, who really did not have a lesson plan for the day.

  15. Vigorous internvention by state legislators is fully warranted to clean up higher education. Democratic legislators would run interference for faculties (as would judges) and Republican legislators do nothing (or are sabotaged by the vacuous careerists among them when the main body attempts anything. From the Democrats, you get crime. From the Republicans, you get failure theatre.

  16. News flash! Faculty members are motivated by status considerations within their occupational segment. As long as he’s employed and isn’t being shunned in the rathskellar, he’s happy. Can. His. A$$.

    1. Oh, I just love the word “rathskellar”! I can just imagine all the little rats scurrying around down there in the cellar dropping little rat pellets everywhere! I think this word is what T.S. Eliot had in mind when he wrote The Hello Men Poem:

      Our dried voices, when
      We whisper together
      Are quiet and meaningless
      As wind in dry grass
      Or rats’ feet over broken glass
      In our dry cellar

      Uh HELLO! Earth to poetry lovers! Plus maybe in the Waste Land one, too, when he wrote:

      I think we are in rats’ alley
      Where the dead men lost their bones.

      Anyway, thank you for using that word! It made my day! Thank goodness I have cats, so I don’t have any rats. Except for maybe one wood rat who lives under the house. But I have not seen him outside snatching the possum and coon food, sooo maybe an Owl got him. I hope not. He was kind of cute the way he would climb up to the suet feeder. Maybe he overate and keeled over???

      Squeeky Fromm
      Girl Reporter

      1. Squeeky, the Rathaus is the city hall in German speaking areas. It used to be the case that beer could only be served in the cellar of the city hall.

        In case you didn’t know.

  17. Looks like Professor Thatcher is acting like chairman Mao and the students have a cultural revolution going on. These young students don’t seem to look at history and see that bad things often come from this kind of behavior. Whenever one group tells another group that they can’t be heard it often leads to unintended consequences.

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