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Numerous feminist professors in Al Franken’s home state of Minnesota decline to condemn him

Given the opportunity, scholars remain silent

Many feminist professors at universities across Minnesota are declining to comment on or condemn Democrat Sen. Al Franken over his sexual harassment scandal — even as the senator prepares to resign for the misconduct.

At least five women have reportedly alleged Franken groped them or forcibly kissed them decades ago, but the allegations came to light in recent months, at a time when sexual harassment claims have taken center stage and a reckoning of sorts over such behavior has gripped the nation.

The College Fix reached out to nine women’s studies professors at four large public and private universities in Minnesota, the state Franken serves, to seek comment on the sexual harassment accusations against the Democrat politician and former actor, as well as his resignation.

Those professors include Aren Aizura and Miranda Joseph at the University of Minnesota, Young-ok An and Susan Myers at the University of St. Thomas, Shannon Miller and Nick Clarkson of Minnesota State University, and Mumbi Mwangi at St. Cloud State University.

None of them responded to multiple emailed queries from The Fix over the last month asking them for their thoughts on Franken’s alleged sexual misconduct, which includes a photograph of the senator groping a woman’s breasts as she slept.

One professor did at least acknowledge the media request. Elizabeth Berila, director of the women’s studies program at St. Cloud State, responded to The Fix’s query but did not comment on Franken, instead punting the question to Jane Olsen, director of the Women’s Center at the university. Olsen also did not respond to requests from The Fix seeking comment on Franken.

While feminist professors remain tight-lipped over the Franken affair, at least one scholar has spoken out to denounce him.

Peace studies professor Jack Nelson-Pallmeyer at the University of St. Thomas has condemned Franken and called for his resignation, telling Tommie Media earlier this month: “I think he needs to resign…I am a little disappointed in the fact that I have never felt in his apology that he has actually apologized for his behavior.”

The editorial board of The Minnesota Daily at the University of Minnesota, meanwhile, also called for Franken’s resignation, writing: “He should immediately resign as his past actions do not reflect the principles that our government leaders should adhere to.”

Franken announced his decision to resign from Senate on December 7 and said he would resign in the “coming weeks,” though no date has been announced yet. His successor has already been chosen by the governor of Minnesota. It will be Minnesota Lt. Gov. Tina Smith.

While Senate Democrats led the charge to force Franken’s resignation earlier this month, before the Alabama election, some are now urging him to stay in office.

One of these Democrats is Sen. Joe Manchin from West Virginia, who says that Franken was “railroaded” and that the calls for his resignation are “hypocrisy at the highest level.”

In his resignation speech, Franken stated that he has “earned a reputation as someone who respects the women I work alongside every day.”

“I know there’s been a very different picture of me painted over the last few weeks. But I know who I really am,” Franken said shortly before announcing that he would resign.

The Senate seat held by Franken is up for reelection in November 2018.

MORE: Women’s studies scholar says of Trump: ‘I wish someone would just shoot him outright’

MORE: Women’s studies professors divided over whether women’s studies is too vagina-centric

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About the Author
Aryssa Damron is a senior at Yale University majoring in English. In addition to The College Fix, Aryssa also writes for Future Female Leaders, Conservative Book Club, and several on-campus publications. She is active in the William F Buckley Jr Program at Yale and in fighting hunger and homelessness in New Haven.

Add to the Discussion

  • matt10023

    In fairness, the College Fix is known to be critical of feminism. Refusing to comment could reflect their opinions about this publication rather than Franken.

  • taxpayer22

    Feminism isn’t about the rights of women and the Sierra Club is Not about the environment..

    These are political platforms hijacked by the Alinsky Left.

  • taxpayer22

    The failure on behalf of feminist groups to devote adequate attention to the Muslim rape epidemic and Islamic Female Genital Mutilation unveils the true face of what characterizes third wave feminism – rampant hypocrisy and an agenda to downplay and dismiss genuine women’s rights issues that don’t fit into their warped paradigm .

  • Julesagain ✓ it’s me

    Unless those same professors were outspoken and publicly condemned Republicans who were accused, I don’t see the point of this article. I am very much opposed to sexual predators being a protected class in our government, but I doubt I would have responded to such a “gotcha” sounding request for comment either. You guys can do much better than this.

  • Nullifidian

    Here’s a simple inequality for you: not commenting to you =/= declining to condemn him.

  • Robert Browning

    Feminism is a Jew construction. Franken is a Jew. Jew ethnic and racial loyalty is more important than ideology or even right over wrong.

  • WhiskyTangoFoxtrot

    They have lost all moral authority and should resign post haste lest they disillusion too many SJW’s.

  • TLYG

    If Franken had his hands all over them they still wouldn’t call him out for it. Why? Because he is “one” of “them.” Leftists are losers to their core – Merry Christmas, snowflakes!

  • UtIdArWa

    Just remember, It’s OK to be a self rightous liberal bigot, as long as you’re a woman, a “person of color”, a muslim, fat, or homosexual. And the person you HHHAAATTTEEE is white, male, Christian and / or heterosexual

  • WereTurtle

    Special interest groups will always err towards political purity over their own special interests. It was just like NOW standing behind Bill Clinton and OJ Simpson and entirely ignoring their mission statement. It was all about politics and nothing more.