Posted: Fri Oct 14, 2016 11:18 am (GMT 0)
Other careers attacked or under attack
There have been a number of notable instances recently of educators and others being fired and even arrested for their political statements.
Steven Salaita sued University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign after the university revoked an offer professorship as a result of comments he made on social media that were highly critical of Israel. Salaita received a settlement of $875,000 from the school. Including legal fees, the case cost the school more than $2 million.
Joy Karega, an assistant professor of rhetoric and composition, was suspended with pay in August by Oberlin College in Ohio for posts she made on Facebook charging that Israel and Zionists were behind 9/11 and the Charlie Hebdo event. The suspension came a full six months after the college learned of the posts.
As mentioned above, Jeremy Rothe-Kushel was arrested after asking author and diplomat Dennis Ross about the use of state-sponsored terrorism by the U.S. and Israel. When he tried to ask a second question a private security guard grabbed his arm and pulled him away. (You can see the incident here.) The guard and an off-duty police officer, both hired by the Jewish Community Foundation, pulled Rothe-Kushel out of the room and then arrested him. He has been charged with trespassing and resisting arrest. Steve Woolfolk, director of public programming for the library, tried to intervene and he was charged with interfering with an arrest. He says he suffered a torn medial collateral ligament in his knee when a police officer kneed him in the leg. Rothe-Kushel said he would have left on his own had he been asked. This month, R. Crosby Kemper III, executive director of the city’s library system, came to the defence of those arrested, saying that the security guards were not acting for the library and had no right to arrest anyone for asking a question. “At this stage, I’m actually outraged,” he said. “This is a big violation of the very first amendment to the Constitution of the United States.”
Last month, Nikolaos Balaskas, a laboratory technologist in the science faculty of York University in Toronto, was fired for social media posts that the university deemed to “target identifiable groups” and “denigrate particular religious faiths including those of the Jewish faith.”
History teacher Jason Ali was fired last month from his job at Woodbridge High School in Woodbridge, New Jersey after it was found that on his teacher’s web page he had linked to a web site that featured an article alleging that the U.S. government was responsible for 9/11.
James Tracy, a tenured associate professor of journalism and media studies at Florida Atlantic University was fired earlier this year for allegedly failing to fill out certain paperwork. Tracy, who runs the Memory Hole blog, had been attacked by the mainstream media and others for his statements that the Sandy Hook event in 2012 was staged, and it appears that this was the real reason for his firing. Tracy is suing for reinstatement.
While it happened back in 2009, it is very much worth noting the experience of William Robinson, a sociology professor at the University of California at Santa Barbara. He was investigated for alleged “anti-Semitism” for an email he sent out to students comparing the Israeli occupation of Gaza to the Warsaw Ghetto in Poland in WWII. Robinson’s right to free speech was defended by the Foundation for Individual Freedom in Education (FIRE), which had threatened a media campaign against the university if it didn’t end the investigation. The university’s Academic Senate found in Robinson’s favor.
"The maintenance of secrets acts like a psychic poison which alienates the possessor from the community" Carl Jung