“Neo-Nazi Murderer Lover”: Columbia Professor Under Fire After Attacking A Baruch Student On Social Media For Defending Trump

Columbia Professor Jeffrey Lax is under fire on conservative sites like the The College Fix for attacking Baruch College student Gabriel Montalvo for defending former President Donald Trump on Facebook. Lax appears entirely unhinged in the exchange and lashes out at Montalvo who at the time was a student at Queensborough Community College. To his credit, Montalvo did not call for Lax’s termination — as is often the case in college protests for those holding opposing views. However, he did call for Columbia to investigate Lax. I believe that such an investigation would also be an abuse despite viewing Lax’s postings as juvenile, hysterical, and unworthy of a professor. As will come as no surprise to many, I viewed the postings as exercises of free speech that should be protected by all academic institutions.Lax is a political science professor who is the Deputy Chair of the department.  On Facebook, he appears entirely robotic and deranged when Montalvo seeks to counter a cartoon critical of Trump’s handling of the Covid crisis.  Lax almost immediately resorts to name calling and personal attacks. He calls Montalvo a “Neo-nazi murderer lover” and says “[w]hy don’t you just drop dead, you neo-nazi enabler.” It is the type of juvenile rhetoric that we once condemned in students, let alone academics. However, it is increasingly common among academics today.Conversely, Montalvo responds in more measured terms “How ironic that the most educated person on this thread is also the most incompetent who results in playground insults. Rather than having a discussion you would rather me die? Aren’t you a political science educator? I could only hope that the students who take your course get a refund.”

Here is the full exchange:

  

The most telling statement is the last.  Before blocking Montalvo on Facebook, Lax declared “I’m too educated to think you are honest.” That smug statement captures perfectly the intolerance of many in academia today.  Indeed, it also explains why top faculties have virtually purged their ranks of conservative and Republican faculty members.  They simply declare their views to be not intellectually “rigorous” or honest. It is that easy. You then select only colleagues from the left who form an echo chamber for themselves and students on campus.

Lax’s embarrassing exchange with this student only occurred because it is not considered an embarrassment on many faculties. To the contrary, it is likely that he was showered with praise by many for his commentary. The reason such unhinged comments are increasingly being made in public is that they are common in private among academics.  In order to prove you are woke and socially conscious, academics often compete in making more and more extreme comments about Trump, Republicans, or conservative politics.  Even as the deputy chair of his department (which probably include a few Republicans or conservatives, Lax maintains a shrieking presence on social media in denouncing conservative viewpoints.

However, Lax is not accused to attacking students on campus or in his classes. He is speaking on social media as an individual and should not face investigation for such exchanges. Indeed, I have repeatedly objected to how universities place professors under investigation for months in clear cases of free speech or academic freedom. We previously discussed how these investigations produce a chilling effect on speech when administrators show little support for free speech, including a recent case at the University of San Diego.

It is rare for such unhinged postings to be investigated when they attack figures or causes on the right. We have seen how universities do not take action against those who write racist attacks on white people or sexist attacks on males. The result is not just the sanctioning of faculty for exercising free speech but the biased application of such measures based on the content of such speech. Students have also been sanctioned for criticism BLM and anti-police views at various colleges. Even a high school principal was fired for stating that “all lives matter.”  Each of these controversies raise concerns over the countervailing statements against police or Republicans or other groups.

I am admittedly a free speech dinosaur.  I believe in largely unfettered free speech, particularly for statements made off campus or outside of a classroom. I have defended faculty who have made similarly disturbing comments “detonating white people,” denouncing policecalling for Republicans to suffer,  strangling police officerscelebrating the death of conservativescalling for the killing of Trump supporters, supporting the murder of conservative protesters and other outrageous statements. We previously wrote about academic freedom issues at University of Rhode Island due to its Director of Graduate Studies of History Erik Loomis, who has defended the murder of a conservative protester and said that he saw “nothing wrong” with such acts of violence.

The highly biased positions taken in past cases should not tempt us to yield to temptation and demand the same treatment for faculty like Lax. Faculty and students need to be afforded the freedom to engage in our public debate outside of school, even when they do so in obnoxious or offensive ways in the view of others. Lax shows an embarrassing lack of judgment, objectivity, and civility. However, he has every right to expose his true self on social media. Indeed, social media helps expose such blind rage and bias in such moments. If he shows the same intolerance and anger in class, Columbia should take immediate action. Until then, he has every right to make a complete fool of himself.

43 thoughts on ““Neo-Nazi Murderer Lover”: Columbia Professor Under Fire After Attacking A Baruch Student On Social Media For Defending Trump”

  1. Think about it this way. You own a carpet cleaning business. Since the Democrats in your state banned getting a criminal background check on applicants, you’ve hired a convicted felon for stealing. He’s all over social media, saying that private property should be outlawed. Stealing is just reparations. If he saw a diamond necklace, he’d take it, because of the patriarchy, colonialism, white supremacy…you know, the usual talking points. And he bragged about working for you.

    How do you think this would impact your business? Would your customers feel comfortable hiring you?

    While it’s true that this is free speech, and he’s not going to get arrested for saying what most BLM activists do. It’s also true that the public behavior of employees can impact your business. If this employee were to steal, you would not only be sued for the damages, but for negligence in allowing him access to their home.

    Professors regularly make statements wishing Trump, or his voters, dead. They regularly compare Republicans with fascists and Nazis. One day, one of these vicious professors is going to hurt a conservative student. And the university is going to be sued into the Stone Age for allowing him or her access to the very students they openly wished harm upon. Red flag, red flag, red flag…and then how could the school let this happen?

    1. Well you listen to your other employees who most are descent about the one bad dude, check him out and if true ,cut that sucker loose.

    2. Since the Democrats in your state banned getting a criminal background check on applicants, you’ve hired a convicted felon for stealing.

      I thought they wanted universal background checks.

  2. As a parent, I would be very concerned about how such a hateful professor would treat my child, were he a student at this university. Would he be physically safe on a campus where hiring practices purposefully select for this kind of hatred against conservatives? Would someone so bigoted even be capable of grading a conservative student fairly?

    My child’s college education is years off at this point, but the prospect of his facing this level of hatred is sobering.

    I’m not saving up for years for him to be brainwashed or abused by Leftist bigots. I don’t want a madrassa. I want higher education for my child.

    This behavior is exactly why it was a terrible mistake for conservatives to allow the Left to infest K-grad school. Most of them can’t seem to leave their personal bias at the door. It infiltrates curriculum. Dissenters are punished. Parents in one school district who objected to Critical Race Theory were targeted with a retaliation campaign to get them fired and financially ruined. Imagine that. A teacher trying to make their students poor if their parents don’t agree with the teacher’s politics.

    This is disgusting behavior. Fight back, because they don’t care if you just sit there like a lump and complain. Vote with your feet. Leave the Democrat madrasas to the children of Democrats. Only send your children to unbiased or conservative schools. Apparently, higher education demands that ideas be segregated, as there is no tolerance on a university campus. Take your children out of public schools that espouse this hateful, racist ideology and homeschool, or pool your resources with like minded families to hire tutors.

    Do something, because complaining isn’t going to get it done.

  3. Lax is utterly deranged. There were no Democrat proposals or suggestions that Trump rejected in his handling of the pandemic, which means the Democrats have no basis for criticizing him. In fact, it turns out that he was much more in tune with truth and science than they were.

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