The site Campus Reform is reporting a disturbing confrontation between student members of the conservative group Turning Point USA and Central Michigan University Professor Sara Moslener. The group posted a videotaped purportedly showing Moslener admitting to tearing down their posters because “I’m terrified of your organization.” While I have defended the right of academics to post and write in controversial and even offensive ways, this does not fall into any category of protected speech. This is the denial of free speech and should be a serious matter for the university.
Moslener is a part-time instructor teaches religion, race, and sexuality. The group quotes her as saying “I take these [signs] down when I see them because I’m terrified of your organization.” However, that is saying that a member of the faculty is actively suppressing the right of students to speak on the campus of Central Michigan University.
When she was confronted by this obvious conflict, Moslener responded that the group in her view is “hiding” racist beliefs and “[i]t is an act of civil disobedience for me . . . If you need to call me out on it, do it, and I will tell everyone exactly what I told you.” That admission would seem to create a direct and insurmountable conflict with the status of being a teacher in higher education.
What is curious is that Moslener is also quoted as saying that “I would love to see a good Republican group on campus” and that “[s]tudents who have a conservative voice don’t have the kind of spaces that students with more liberal voices have.” Yet, she also claims the right to tear down posters for conservative groups that she does not like.
If that seems hopelessly conflicted, it is because it is.