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‘Keeping A College Teaching Job In This Country Is A Constitutional Right’

Jilted anti-Israel professor Steven Salaita is far from the only academic to openly spew invective toward a group he disagrees with and expect no deleterious consequences.

The ranks of academia are filled with tenured professors who believe that “keeping a college teaching job in this country is a constitutional right,” RealClearPolitics Washington editor Carl Cannon writes.

The College Fix has closely followed the saga of Salaita, who quit Virginia Tech after being recruited by the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, which abruptly rescinded the offer after Salaita’s “loathsome and foul-mouthed presence in social media” (a potential colleague’s words) became well known. He’s drawn support from the American Association of University Professors among others.

Cannon makes the case that tenure for professors is akin to federal judgeships, except that “many people holding them don’t act like impartial judges—they act like unhinged advocates.” His examples:

Salaita reveals himself to be a foul-mouthed fanatic whose antipathy for Israel is so thorough that he calls for the country’s destruction, fantasizes about the mass murder of Jewish settlers, blames Jews themselves for anti-Semitism, and says that anybody who disagrees with him “is an awful human being.” …

Last week, a Latin American studies professor at Kent State posted an essay calling for “jihad” and “revolution,” while characterizing Israel as “the spiritual heir to Nazism.” The professor, a UCLA-trained Muslim convert named Julio Pino, said that any college professor who didn’t join him in shunning all Israeli academics is “directly responsible for the murder of over 1,400 Palestinian children, women, and elderly citizens.” …

In 2013, Michigan State University William S. Penn called Mitt Romney “a greedy bastard,” denigrated Ann Romney for no discernable reason, and attacked the Republican Party as “old … dying white people … who raped the country.” When video surfaced of this rant, Penn was put on paid leave for a semester—at a salary of $145,800—and was back in the classroom by January.

Cannon has other examples – but this one is revealing:

Last April, Eastern Connecticut State University adjunct professor Brent Terry was supposed to be teaching creative writing when he began ranting about the 2014 midterm elections. If Republicans win, he said, “colleges will start closing up.” Why? Because “racist, misogynist, money-grubbing” conservatives “don’t think money should go to giving you people dangerous ideas about how the world should be run.”

This tirade was caught on tape by an offended student, and when he saw it, Terry had the decency to be appalled—and promptly apologized. Or maybe the most salient fact is that he’s untenured. [emphasis added]

Perhaps professors would behave more, shall we say, professorial if they expected consequences for such boorish behavior?

In the meantime, college students should just keep a video-enabled device handy in the classroom.

Read Cannon’s full article here.

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About the Author
Associate Editor
Greg Piper served as associate editor of The College Fix from 2014 to 2021.