Category: Academia

Turley Speaks At Santa Monica College on Constitution Day

Today at 11:15 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. (PDT), I will have the pleasure of speaking as the Constitution Day speaker for Santa Monica College. It will be on a crisis of constitutional faith in our country, particularly in the abandonment of free speech principles. The moderator for the event, which will be shown by Zoom, is Professor Hari Vishwanadha. Continue reading “Turley Speaks At Santa Monica College on Constitution Day”

“I Will Not Wear a Mask”: New Mexico Professor Placed on Leave After Refusing To Take Vaccine or Wear Mask

A New Mexico State University professor is the latest professor to pledge to challenge COVID mandates after a strident anti-vaccine lecture that contained comparisons to the Nazis and concentration camps. Business law Professor David Clements had just received the teaching excellence award but could not attend the ceremony over his refusal to wear a mask. The video shows students leaving the lecture, which I felt was inappropriate and over-the-top for making this point. Professor Clements has every right to challenge the mandate but I was astonished by the length and intensity of this lecture that became a diatribe before the students who came for a business law class.  Clements was later put on paid administrative leave. Continue reading ““I Will Not Wear a Mask”: New Mexico Professor Placed on Leave After Refusing To Take Vaccine or Wear Mask”

“This Work Terrifies Me”: Virginia Tech Professor Triggers Free Speech Debate Over “Who I Am” Statement

“Inherently Violent”: Case Western Newspaper Denounces Funding for Pro-Life Student Group

Occasionally we discuss pieces in student newspapers that reflect the evolving views on our campus toward free speech.  One such editorial appeared last week in the Case Western Reserve University (CWRU) student newspaper The Observer. The Observer editorial board wrote that the recognition of a pro-life student group presents an unacceptable risk to the student body. The editorial, which due criticism from sites like Campus Reform, is legitimately a concern over the rising anti-free speech movement taking hold on our campus.

Continue reading ““Inherently Violent”: Case Western Newspaper Denounces Funding for Pro-Life Student Group”

Flagging Free Speech: Washington University Student Triggers Free Speech Debate by Removing 9/11 Memorial

As we discussed yesterday, there are different views of what occurred on 9/11 that are expressed (appropriately) on our campuses. Indeed, while some have criticized the holding of critical forums on the anniversary, it is precisely the type of diversity of viewpoints that sustains higher education. However, a student senator at Washington University in St. Louis has triggered a free speech debate after he allegedly removed American flags from a 9/11 memorial display and threw them into the trash. While condemning the action, the school has taken no action against Fadel Alkilani, vice president of finance for the student union. A common argument on campuses today is that shutting down the speech of others is itself an exercise of free speech — something I have long contested. Continue reading “Flagging Free Speech: Washington University Student Triggers Free Speech Debate by Removing 9/11 Memorial”

Syracuse Professor Declares the Sept. 11th Attacks a Response to “Heteropatriarchal Capitalistic Systems”

Many of us who lived through September 11th terrorist attacks have used today to share the painful memories of that day. In addition to losing a friend on one of the flights, the Pentagon plane hit just after I passed next to the impact side of the Pentagon in my car on the way to work. I ended up being cut off by another car and blowing my front tire and fixing it as the huge plume rose over the Pentagon. For others, the anniversary carries a different meaning from religious extremists murdering thousands in the name of Allah. For Syracuse University political science professor and Washington Post contributor Jenn M. Jackson,  the attacks were really about destroying the “heteropatriarchal capitalistic systems” supporting the United States and Western powers. Would that make Osama Bin Laden a champion in intersectional homotransnationalism?

Continue reading “Syracuse Professor Declares the Sept. 11th Attacks a Response to “Heteropatriarchal Capitalistic Systems””

“We Bury the Ashes of Racism, Discrimination and Stereotypes”: Canadian Schools Hold Book Burning Demonstration to be a More “Inclusive Country”

We recently discussed how many on the left have discovered the allure of book burning, book banning, and blacklisting of authors. While expressing shock at ISIS and other extremist groups burning books, the practice appears acceptable based on the titles or content. Now educators in Ontario have held a “flame purification ceremony” for the local indigenous population by burning roughly 5,000 books. The notion of teachers burning books is almost as bizarre as the thought of book sellers embracing blacklisting but both are now part of the realities of our age of rage. Continue reading ““We Bury the Ashes of Racism, Discrimination and Stereotypes”: Canadian Schools Hold Book Burning Demonstration to be a More “Inclusive Country””

California Medical Ethics Expert Sues University Over Vaccine Mandate

We recently discussed the lawsuit filed by a George Mason University professor who refused to get the Covid vaccine upon the recommendation of his doctors and due to his natural antibodies after recovering from the virus. GMU later relented and gave him an exception. However, now a University of California professor has sued on the same ground. Aaron Kheriaty, professor of psychiatry and human behavior at the University of California at Irvine, is the latest effort to force review of the issue of natural antibodies as a protection from Covid. Continue reading “California Medical Ethics Expert Sues University Over Vaccine Mandate”

Federal Court Rules Against SUNY-Binghamton in Important Free Speech Challenge

There is an interesting ruling this week out of New York where a federal court has ruled in favor of a conservative student group alleging that the State University of New York at Binghamton has engaged in a pattern of censorship of conservative speakers and events. We previously discussed the controversy. What makes this lawsuit by the Young America’s Foundation particularly significant is the allegation that SUNY-Binghamton barred events by allowing protesters to shut them down. Lawrence Khan, a U.S. district judge denied SUNY Binghamton’s motion to dismiss. I discuss this type of failure to protect public forums in my forthcoming law review article, Jonathan Turley, Harm and Hegemony: The Decline of Free Speech in the United States, 45 Harvard Journal of Law and Public Policy (2021). Continue reading “Federal Court Rules Against SUNY-Binghamton in Important Free Speech Challenge”

Australian Court Overturns Dismissal Of Anti-Israeli Professor

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There is an important ruling on academic freedom out of Australia where one of the most controversial academic figures in the country secured a ruling from a federal court to overturn his dismissal by Sidney University. Professor Tim Anderson was fired after inserting a swastika in the middle of an Israeli flag and posting a picture of a lunch in which one of the guests wore badges that said “Death to Israel” and “Curse the Jews” written in Arabic.  The lower court found that the academic freedom promised Anderson upon his hiring was unenforceable and largely aspirational. The ruling (below) found an enforceable standard, though this does not end the long controversy over Anderson’s status. Continue reading “Australian Court Overturns Dismissal Of Anti-Israeli Professor”

Colorado University-Boulder Conference: “Decolonize” Yourself But Not With a “Sense of Urgency”

Faculty across the country are being asked or required to take courses on diversity and equity as part of anti-racism programs. There are remarkable differences between these programs, including one at the Colorado University at Boulder where faculty and graduate students are taught to shed the “cultural norms of white supremacy” and to “decolonize” their classes. According to the conservative site Campus Reform, this includes rejecting “neoliberal” concepts of time by combating “perfectionism” and the “sense of urgency.” Continue reading “Colorado University-Boulder Conference: “Decolonize” Yourself But Not With a “Sense of Urgency””

Sonoma State Professor Faces Calls For Termination Over Failure to Include Trigger Warnings in Film Course

We recently discussed the inclusion of “trigger warning” as an oppressive term. However, the failure to include such a warning is the basis for a campaign to fire Sonoma State University film Professor Ajay Gehlawat. Gehlawat has opposed such required warnings and later was targeted for failing to include such a warning on an assigned film that depicted as rape scene. Continue reading “Sonoma State Professor Faces Calls For Termination Over Failure to Include Trigger Warnings in Film Course”

Duquesne Professor Under Fire After White Suicide Lecture

While Johnny Mandel sang “suicide is painless,” it is apparently also ethical. Duquesne University Psychology professor Derek Hook is under fire this week after arguing in class that white people may find that the ethical option for the dismantling of white culture is suicide. As will likely come as little surprise to many on this blog, I oppose calls for Hook’s termination as a matter of academic freedom. Continue reading “Duquesne Professor Under Fire After White Suicide Lecture”

California Teachers Trigger Free Speech Debate Over Antifa and Gay Pride Flags in the Classrooms

Two California teachers are under investigations in separate incidents involving classroom flags and videos this month. Government teacher Gabriel Gipe is under fire for boasting about his flying an Antifa flag at Inderkum High School and explaining that he has only “180 days to turn them into revolutionaries.” That controversy comes just days after another California teacher, Kristen Pitzen, boasted how she removed the American flag because it made her uncomfortable and replaced it with a gay pride flag.  She laughed how students were then left to say the pledge of allegiance to the gay pride flag at Back Bay High School in Costa Mesa. Both raise similar issues of when free speech is not a complete defense for educators. Continue reading “California Teachers Trigger Free Speech Debate Over Antifa and Gay Pride Flags in the Classrooms”

Amherst College Bars Students From Leaving Campus Without Permission

Universities and colleges have responded to the pandemic with widely differing approaches from mandated vaccines to bimonthly testing.  Amherst College however, stands out in its prohibition of off-campus travel without the express approval of the school.  The rule has triggered a backlash by students.

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