California State University Fresno is facing a donor backlash after one of its professors went on a hate-filled rant about former First Lady Barbara Bush shortly after her death.
Randa Jarrar called Mrs. Bush an “amazing racist” who “raised a war criminal,” and tweeted out “I’m happy the witch is dead. can’t wait for the rest of the family to fall to their demise the way 1.5 million iraqis [sic] have.”
She doubled down after facing social media backlash, tweeting “All the hate I’m getting ALMOST made me forget how happy I am that George W Bush is probably really sad right now.”
Now some university donors are reconsidering their funds.
Ed Dunkel Jr. told The Fresno Bee he personally is taking a “wait and see” approach but said “I have a lot of friends that I’ve been talking to, and these are people who donate now a[re] talking about holding back, and some are even questioning whether to send their kids to Fresno State.”
“I admire and have a lot of respect for President (Joseph) Castro and huge affection for Fresno State,” Dunkel said. “But I have huge concerns. This represents such an embarrassment to the university and the community. It’s hard to believe this is an isolated thing that just happened. I have to imagine people previously knew of this person’s character and what she’s about.”
“I have to wait and see how it’s going to be handled,” Dunkel added. “I’m a huge supporter of Fresno State, but at the end of the day we have to take a look at this and see who’s teaching our kids, and what the university is all about.” …
Holly Carter, of Carter & Co. Communications, said Fresno State needs to send a stronger message to the public about what has happened and the consequences. There hasn’t been enough trust building and reputation building, she said, following a rash of incidents at the university involving free speech and a recent data breach at the school.
Absent that, Carter said, the university “is leaving a lot of people … feeling, ‘OK, well, maybe this is the real Fresno State.’” Parents who send their kids to the school need to hear what’s happening, along with the students who are deciding whether to attend Fresno State, the athletes, and the donors, Carter said.
Others expressed confidence Fresno State will handle the situation appropriately. They said the actions of one individual won’t taint their view of the institution.
Notably, Professor Jarrar has a supporter who faced a similar situation.
History lecturer Lars Maischak, who gained infamy by tweeting out President Trump “must hang” and that “for each deported immigrant” two Republicans should be executed, recently penned a self-serving op-ed ripping Fresno State and its president in which he invoked, yes, Godwin’s Law:
The “righteous anger of the people” was, of course, the justification for the first waves of arrests in Germany in 1933. Or rather, not arrests but the rendition of individuals into protective custody, where the justifiable anger of the people could not reach. This was the birth of the concentration camp. Coincidentally, the first inmates were liberals and Marxists. …
[…] in the present climate, where respectable individuals will advise you that having a critical opinion poses a health risk, speaking truth to power is not always welcome.
In a social media age, the online network of character- and career-assassins functions for Trump, as the brown-shirted thugs did for Hitler. They are the boots on the ground, and on the neck of the dissidents.
Maischak concludes his missive by saying if you want to live in a country where reactions like those to Jarrar and himself continue to occur, he has nothing to say to you. However, if you think the country “should live up to its best traditions of freedom of expression, vibrant democratic debate, and constructive dialog,” you should make that known … “before it is too late.”
Because, after all, tweets of “Trump must hang,” and calling for Republicans’ executions are “vibrant debate” and “constructive dialogue” right?
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