Students of a controversial Drexel University professor this week came out in a show of support after the prof being placed on leave.
George Ciccariello-Maher, who has a habit of writing highly volatile tweets and then blaming everybody else for “misinterpreting” them, was placed on leave by Drexel after yet another tweet — this one blaming the Las Vegas massacre on “white people and men [who] are told that they are entitled to everything.”
The “white genocide” professor took the pages of the Washington Post to whine about the conservative “outrage machine” that jumped on his (latest) inflammatory social media stunt. He also lamented that his students won’t now be able to wallow in his intellectual brilliance during his absence:
“[N]ow, their own academic freedom has been curtailed by their university, and they are unable to even attend the classes they registered for.”
He continued in a statement to the Drexel student paper The Triangle:
“I am very concerned that my students have been stripped of the opportunity to discuss and debate the important questions we confront as a country and as a world today. Students have the right to academic freedom, too: the freedom to engage in challenging intellectual debates without fear for their own safety, but also without the fear that that debate will be shut down any time someone threatens violence.”
Ciccariello-Maher’s students offered words, and placards, of support:
— Dakota Storm (@kodapeterson10) October 13, 2017
“I understand Ciccariello’s recently forced academic leave as an encroachment on my, as well as the other students’, academic rights. We, the student body, are in college to learn, and learning only takes place when we struggle with challenging intellectual concepts, derive and express our own opinions in the classroom. Yesterday that opportunity was stripped from a number of university students,” Dakota Peterson, an undergraduate studying political science and taking Ciccariello-Maher’s race and politics class, said.
Another student describes Ciccariello-Maher as respectful of students and tolerant of their ideas during class.
“Dr. Ciccariello-Maher has been nothing but respectful to me and all of my classmates. He makes it a point to highlight his place on the political spectrum, and insists that every student work to engage with the ideas of the class. He has always been tolerant of other people’s opinions, but no position is allowed to be treated as beyond investigation,” Talha Mukhtar, an undergraduate studying political science and taking Ciccariello-Maher’s race and politics class, wrote in an email.
“It is ludicrous that the university put Dr. Ciccariello-Maher on leave. Universities are about fostering a diverse ecosystem of contrasting ideas. When we agree only to teach and talk about the safe and uncontroversial, we allow our education itself to be stolen away. A university that doesn’t stand behind its professors doesn’t deserve to have professors,” he continued.
Well, according to the prof himself, Drexel took the action due to the threats Ciccariello-Maher received in light of his latest social media remarks.