“Living Hell”: Clemson Professor Prompts Others To Find The Home Address Of Public Letter Author

Clemson_University_Seal.svgAnother professor is under fire this week for rabidly anti-Republican views.  Clemson School of Computing Assistant Professor Bart Knijnenburg called not just Trump but all Republicans “xenophobic and racist.” He previously called all Republicans “racist scum.”  Despite his hateful and intolerant views, I still believe that he has a free speech right to express those views in social media and would oppose efforts to terminate him.  Unfortunately, such views are not uncommon among faculty. What made this story stand out is that Knijnenburg appeared to encourage others to find the home address of someone who published an open letter calling for schools to stop admitting Chinese students.  It has become a standard practice of some groups to harass and threaten people at home if they express opposing views or contradict a new orthodoxy on our campuses.

This week I testified in the Senate about the erosion of free speech and academic freedom in our universities where professors are being punished or even fired for expressing viewpoints that challenge this new orthodoxy, particularly with regard to racial and political issues.

Professors who express anti-Republican views are rarely subjected to campaigns for removal. Indeed, Change.org recently took down a petition criticizing a professor for declaring “White Lives Don’t Matter.” From a free speech perspective, it is not just the threats against expression but the bias in enforcement that is so concerning. However, that does not change the fact that Knijnenburg is expressing deeply held political and social views in stating that “anyone who still calls themselves a Republican despite all this is xenophobic and racist.”

On his Twitter account, Knijnenburg uses the common acronym “ACAB,” for “all cops are bastards” and proclaims “Burn it down.”

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Knijnenburg was previously under fire on Campus Reform for declaring on Facebook that “all Trump supporters, nay, all Republicans, are racist scum.”

What was disconcerting was a professor encouraging the harassment of people with opposing views at their homes. Knijnenburg went to Facebook to attack a man who wrote an open letter to the president of the Clemson University Board of Trustees, asking the university to “keep Chinese nationalists out of Clemson.” The letter reflects a view of various political leaders that Chinese military and intelligence operations are using students to steal data and research from American universities. Knijnenburg profanely attacks the man and then engages in others who want to get “personal” and ask where he lives.

Knijnenburg reportedly responded with “Greenwood. His name is Paul Gilbert and he was an assistant town administrator in Calhoun Falls. And then a zoning administrator in Greenwood. Now retired, I guess.” Knijnenburg later followed up with “lemme know if you find out his address.”  He later responded to other comments and said that “part of me wants to just not bother; another part of me wants to make this guy’s life a living hell.”

The involvement of an academic in seeking to harass those with opposing views is a disgrace to our profession. Universities are dedicated to the exchange of ideas and based on the faith that ultimately the more worthy or justified viewpoints will prevail. Knijnenburg does not address the merits of Gilbert’s position as an academic. (I disagree with Gilbert and those seeking to ban Chinese students in part because I believe that it is important for Chinese students to experience the freedoms in this country, including the freedom of speech). Instead of a substantive response, Knijnenburg unleashes profane and personal attacks combined with a threat to make Gilbert’s life a living hell. To many students already believe that such attacks are an acceptable substitute for debate or dialogue on our campuses.

In seeking to intimidate people with opposing views, Knijnenburg confirms that he is more of an advocate than an academic. He and these other commenters want to deter others from expressing opposing views by making Mr. Gilbert an example. While other academics are assaulted or put under police protection for trying to speak freely, Knijnenburg is spurring on the mob.

The problem with being an advocate for free speech and academic freedom is that you often must defend people who would deny both rights in others. Indeed, we often support those who want to silence others while espousing hateful views.  While Knijnenburg would “burn down” those things that annoy him, protecting his right to express such views protects us all.

However, Knijnenburg is coming close to the line of protected speech in his encouraging the harassment of other people.  We have previously discussed how some faculty have had to be placed under police protection due to such campaigns. The targeting of homes has often led to trespass and even violence. Knijnenburg’s stated desire to burn down part of society can easily be taken as a desire to burn down people who support those institutions.  When such speech turns to action, Knijnenburg may find himself beyond the protection of these rights.

288 thoughts on ““Living Hell”: Clemson Professor Prompts Others To Find The Home Address Of Public Letter Author”

  1. DIVERSITY OF THOUGHT (according to Commenters Absurd, Alan and Lorenzo)

    In the past 40 years, these have been Republican priorities:

    Opposition to abortion,
    Opposition to gun regulations,
    Opposition to environmental regulations,
    Opposition to health and safety concerns
    Opposition to raising the minimum wage
    Opposition to collective bargaining.
    Opposition to expanded healthcare
    and tax cuts for the executive class regardless of need!

    Yet Absurd, Alan and Lorenzo would have us believe this negative slate of priorities constitutes ‘diversity of thought’.

    In reality these priorities indicate why Republicans are incapable of governing. They know what they’re against, but Republicans don’t stand for anything positive. No ideas for issues relevant to common folks.

    1. Let’s do an about face on Paint Chip’s poor arguments.

      These have been democrat priorities:

      **Kill babies especially black ones even those that can live outside of the womb. Make sure Planned Parenthood abortion clinics are located within walking distance of black communities. Democrats even want a failed abortion not fail and want to legally be permitted to let the living child die in front of the mother, doctor and nurse.

      Most Americans Republican or not bend on the abortion issue but true democrats do not. They stand for abortion even if the child is already born.

      **Threaten innocent people with mobs committing violence and destruction and then take away their guns.

      **Use the EPA to go after political opponents and to destroy the American economy even when the regulations are meaningless.

      Use the EPA to prevent American energy independence. Use the EPA to support Russian and Chinese needs and ambitions.

      There is no reason to continue down the list because the list shows that Paint Chips is a baby killer who will threaten innocent people while burning down their home and will support the ambitions of our enemies Russia and China. He doesn’t think before he writes.

      1. REGARDING ABOVE:

        Alan thinks Planned Parenthood sweeps into Black neighborhoods with an army that rounds up pregnant women. It’s one of those stupid, Alex Jones conspiracies like Pizza Gate.

        1. “Alan thinks Planned Parenthood sweeps into Black neighborhoods with an army that rounds up pregnant women.”

          No, they built the vast majority in walking distance from the black community.

          “New York Planned Parenthood will nix founder Margaret Sanger’s name from Manhattan facility”
          “”overwhelming evidence for Sanger’s deep belief in eugenic ideology”

        2. I would also note that you seem to think that anything with racially disparate impact is racist.

          Then abortion is racist.

    2. In the past 40 years, these have been Democrat priorities:

      Opposition to the protection of new-born infants
      Opposition to the exercise of Constitutional rights
      Opposition to the cancellation of over-reaching regulations by unelected bureaucrats
      Opposition to individual exercise of healthcare
      Opposition to fiscal sensibility
      Opposition to control of organized labor thuggery
      Opposition to responsible healthcare options
      and tax payments to non-earning citizens riding in the bak of the truck.

      Yet Seth Warner would have us believe this insane slate of priorities constitutes “diversity of thought”

      In reality, these priorities indicate why Democrats are incapable of governing, They know what they’re against, but Democrats don’t stand for anything positive. No ideas relevant to common folks.

      Your move, Comrade Seth. But next time, come with something other than talking points and pointless bromides.

      1. REGARDING ABOVE:

        David Robertson is a puppet for the same nerd who’s been trying to dominate this thread for more than a year. On this particular day he posted under several different (stupid) names. One can see from the vague points above why this nerd keeps changing names.

        1. Paint Chips, David Robertson could be anyone or David Robinson. You are pis-ed because you think he is playing the same game you have played on a continuous basis. Flood the blog with aliases to escape your stupid remarks. Right Captain Lochart (one of a couple of dozen aliases used by todays Seth Warner)? I think you believe that the word Captain made you feel more important.

          More important is that he reversed your points and you know that his points sound better than yours.

    3. Well now, I proudly claim I agree with Republicans stands on these issues. And for a person who apparently believes in “diversity of thought” it’s interesting that virtually all of the intolerance and even violence is coming from the Democrat party. It’s not Republicans banning speech, encouraging violence against those with opposite opinions, forcing people to be fired from their jobs, trying to rig voting, etc etc etc.

      Have you watched what’s going on in Chicago, Seattle, NYC, Baltimore, SF, LA? ALL run by Democrats because they’re “incapable of governing”.

      “No ideas for issues relevant to common folks”. You mean like supporting the people responsible for protecting us? Jobs? Energy security? Opportunity zones? Getting our military out of rat holes we’ve been in for years? Re-doing bad trade deals? Bringing jobs back to America?
      Those issues?

      So take your self-righteous attitude to your cocktail party love-ins where you can act all superior, scoff at Trump supporters, and go home feeling just marvelous at your own brilliance.

      Have fun!

      1. Captain Nathan, we never heard of you before. Though I bet you’re the same nerd as ‘David Robertson’ further up.

  2. From Pew Research:

    Current Congress Is Most Diverse Ever

    But Almost All The Diversity Is On The Democratic Side

    Although recent Congresses have continued to set new highs for racial and ethnic diversity, they have still been disproportionately white when compared with the overall U.S. population. Nonwhites make up 39% of the nation’s population, according to U.S. Census Bureau population estimates. (For this analysis, Hispanics are included in the Census Bureau estimates for the share of each racial minority group in the overall population.)

    In the House of Representatives, however, some racial and ethnic groups are now on par with their share of the total population. For example, 12% of House members are black, about equal to the share of Americans who are black. And Native Americans now make up 1% of the House, equal to their 1% of the population.

    Other nonwhite groups in the House are somewhat less represented relative to their share of the population. The share of Hispanics in the U.S. population (18%) is twice as high as it is in the House (9%). Asians account for 6% of the national population but 3% of House members.

    The increase in minority representation in the House has largely come among newly elected Democrats. Of the 22 freshman representatives who are nonwhite, just one is a Republican (Rep. Anthony Gonzalez of Ohio, who is Hispanic).

    Nine senators are a racial or ethnic minority, unchanged from the 115th Congress. Four senators are Hispanic, three are Asian and three are black. (Kamala Harris, D-Calif., is black and Asian). There are no nonwhite freshman senators.

    In the full 116th Congress, the overwhelming majority of racial and ethnic nonwhite members are Democrats (90%), while just 10% are Republicans.

    Whites make up larger share of Congress than of U.S. populationNon-Hispanic whites make up 78% of voting members in the new Congress, considerably larger than their 61% share of the U.S. population overall. And despite the growing racial and ethnic diversity of Congress, this gap has widened over time: In 1981, 94% of Congress was white, compared with 80% of the U.S. population.

    This analysis includes a few members who are counted under more than one racial or ethnic identity. In addition to Harris, Rep. Robert Scott, D-Va., is counted as both black and Asian. Reps. Antonio Delgado and Adriano Espaillat, both New York Democrats, are listed as black and Hispanic. Espaillat, the first Dominican American elected to Congress, self-identifies as a Latino of African descent. Portuguese American members are not included in the Hispanic count. In addition, one disputed seat in the House – North Carolina’s 9th District – is not included in the total number of voting seats.

    Edited from: “For The Fifth Time In A Row, The New Congress Is The Most Racially And Ethnically Diverse Ever”

    Pew Research, 2/8/19
    ……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………..

    KEY PASSAGE IN ARTICLE:

    In the full 116th Congress, the overwhelming majority of racial and ethnic nonwhite members are Democrats (90%), while just 10% are Republicans

    1. Regarding Above:

      This was originally posted late Saturday afternoon. But for some reason it mysteriously disappeared late Saturday night or sometime Sunday morning.

      1. Lorenzo:
        Who people are (sex, race, class, religious beliefs, native-born or immigrant, language(s) spoken, work experience, sexual orientation, …) affects their experiences in life, contributing to diversity of thought.

        There’s at least as much diversity of thought among Democrats in Congress as there is among Republicans in Congress.

        1. There are LOTS of factors contributing to one’s life experience. While some of it is based on their immutable characteristics, most of it isn’t. And that’s easily provable by looking at any group based on their identity and seeing the vast range of life experiences in those ranges.

          1. LOL that you tell me that “There are LOTS of factors contributing to one’s life experience” as if this is something I don’t know. FFS, I listed 8 things and included ellipses to indicate that it wasn’t a complete list. Just how explicit do I have to get?

            “While some of it is based on their immutable characteristics, most of it isn’t.”

            Do tell me how you’ve measured the impact of all of these things in order to know what accounts for “most.” You may think it obvious, but you believing it doesn’t guarantee that it’s true. I think that the combination of my sex, race, IQ, sexual preference, characteristics of the family in which I was raised (SES, religious beliefs, immigration background, …) had a very significant impact on my experiences in life and what I believe. Of course those aren’t the only things that impact my beliefs, but that doesn’t make them negligible.

            “that’s easily provable by looking at any group based on their identity”

            You talk about identity as if it’s a singular characteristic, when that clearly isn’t true. Moreover, the issue isn’t the existence of within-group variation (of course that exists!), but of whether there’s nonetheless a difference in the mode for group A vs. group B.

            And again: there’s at least as much diversity of thought among Democrats in Congress as there is among Republicans in Congress. Since diversity of thought is ALREADY there to at least the same degree, adding other kinds of diversity is a benefit.

            1. No, I said a person is complex set of identities. That’s why I reject the notion that a select few of them are somehow indicative of their life experiences, and especially the identities that they cannot change.

              The suggestion that diversity in an institution should be organized by one’s immutable characteristics instead of the way they think and can contribute to that institution’s success is laughable.

              1. Who is saying “that diversity in an institution should be organized by one’s immutable characteristics instead of the way they think and can contribute” (emphasis added)??

                It isn’t either-or. It’s and-and-and-and-and-and… Diversity in thinking AND diversity in contributions AND racial diversity AND sexual diversity AND religious diversity AND … AND … AND …

                1. “Who is saying “that diversity in an institution should be organized by one’s immutable characteristics instead of the way they think and can contribute”
                  _________

                  The original comment that I responded to was talking about diversity in terms of racial and ethnic backgrounds. I assumed that there was some presumption of importance in such an analysis, which is why I responded.

                  Are you suggesting that there is something important about an institution’s racial makeup if that makeup doesn’t bring a diversity of ideas and opinions? If not, then what is your disagreement with what I posted?

                  1. I’m saying that diversity of lived experience contributes to diversity of ideas and opinions, and that race and ethnicity — among other variations, which I touched on above — affect people’s lived experiences.

                    I’m saying that your conditional claim “if that makeup doesn’t bring a diversity of ideas and opinions” (emphasis added) is more likely to be false than true.

                    1. No matter how much diversity there was under Stalin diverse opinions could not be expressed.

                      Take note what happens when someone doesn’t toe the leftist line. Then look at Portland and Seatle. Smart people that are attached to the leftist democrat ideology are saying the most stupid things. We here those things on this blog and from the poster above.

        2. There’s at least as much diversity of thought among Democrats in Congress as there is among Republicans in Congress.

          Thanks for the fantasy. Always an education.

        3. “There’s at least as much diversity of thought among Democrats…”

          Democrats (the party not necessarily the normal people) hate diversity of thought.

          Workplace: Say something true that doesn’t fit in with democrat lefitist thought and your fired.
          Race: Too many times grievances are trumping merit.
          Sex: Men can run faster than woman and that is why a man enterring as a woman is likely to win the race.

          Leftist and democrat policy has changed how people are permitted to think. That process has deeply affected democrats in Congress. I have no love for Republicans but democrats (party not the normal people) are no longer acting in the interests of America or of free people.

          1. To anyone remotely familiar with the evolution of debate within the Democratic Party over the last 50-odd years, his remark sounds unreal.

    2. Other than showcasing a bunch of numbers, what, exactly, is the point of the article or Pew’s “research” on the subject?

      Conclusion? It’s the most diverse congress ever but apparently that’s not necessarily a good thing? I assume the readers are aware that members of Congress are put in their positions by….drum roll….VOTERS!

    1. Is racism unconstitutional?

      Do Americans enjoy no freedom of thought, speech, religion, belief, propagation, press, assembly, disassembly or no other conceivable, natural and God-given rights, freedoms, privileges and immunities per the 9th Amendment?

      1. “Is racism unconstitutional?”

        George, why do you ask? The Constitution doesn’t prevent feelings. It prevents actions.

  3. #3 $400/week. “The third executive action I’m taking today will also provide additional support for Americans who are unemployed, due to the China virus. Under the CARES act I proudly signed I expanded unemployment benefits into law.”

    https://publicpool.kinja.com/subject-memorandum-on-authorizing-the-other-needs-assi-1844660876

    #4 “directive providing relief to student loan borrowers.”

    https://publicpool.kinja.com/subject-memorandum-on-continued-student-loan-payment-r-1844660862

  4. I guess this means Nancy and the democrats didn’t want to negotiate in good faith.

    Executive Orders:

    #1 payroll tax holiday for incomes <$100,000. “If I’m victorious, November 3rd, I plan to forgive these taxes and make permanent cuts to the payroll tax and to make them more permanent.”

    https://publicpool.kinja.com/subject-memorandum-on-deferring-payroll-tax-obligation-1844660877

    #2 to prevent evictions during Covid “the Department of Housing and Urban Development, HHS and CDC, to make sure renters and homeowners can stay in their homes.“

    https://publicpool.kinja.com/subject-executive-order-on-fighting-the-spread-of-covi-1844660871

  5. Seth – diversity is not skin deep. It is racist to lump all people of one skin color into one group, like they all are supposed to think, act, and talk the same because of how much melanin they have.

    Diversity of opinion is not tolerated in the Democrat Party. This is also the party that hurls racist slurs at conservative blacks, misogynist slurs at conservative women, and misandrist slurs at all men. The very concept of identity politics is bigotry, judging anyone on their race and gender.

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