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Professor assures Harvard she only compares Trump to Hitler outside of class

UPDATED

Targeted for a Soros connection?

Danielle Allen is miffed that she was included on the Professor Watchlist, the Turning Point USA project that identifies professors “who discriminate against conservative students and advance leftist propaganda in the classroom.”

The Harvard professor wants to make plain to the administration, her colleagues and students that her leftist advocacy – including publicly comparing Donald Trump to Adolf Hitler – is strictly extracurricular.

In a Harvard Crimson op-ed, Allen claims her free speech is under attack because of criticism she is now receiving for a Washington Post op-ed a year ago.

Allen had written that she finally understood Hitler’s rise to power after watching Donald Trump’s political rise. That is the lone incident for which she is on the list:

The site provides no documentation of my having made arguments comparing Trump to Hitler in the classroom—because there is none. I have never made such a comparison in class, not even in the attenuated form in my opinion piece. …

I treasure academic freedom but also believe that teachers should avoid politicizing the classroom. To my mind, full-throated political engagement belongs on op-ed pages and in the hard work of citizenship. That said, faculty members should not be “watchlisted” if they make other judgments than mine about how to deploy academic freedom.

MORE: 12,000 professors ask to be added to ‘Watchlist’

Allen said her role in the classroom, where “I strongly distinguish values-based analysis from partisan deliberation and never advocate partisan positions in class,” is different from her roles as opinion columnist and “engaged citizen.”

Allen notes she was recently mentioned on Tucker Carlson’s Fox News show when Turning Point founder Charlie Kirk highlighted her entry.

She said Kirk’s claim was “simply false” that Allen “teaches that we can learn a lot from this rise of Donald Trump and this populist rise because actually it is very similar to that of Adolf Hitler.”

Allen thinks she was put on the list for a year-old op-ed because, wearing her “engaged citizen” hat, she is connected to the left-wing philanthropist George Soros.

MORE: Philly-area professors peeved at being added to ‘Watchlist’

In March she took over as chair of an advisory board for the Open Society Foundations, a Soros project that is distinct from his “political donations,” she said.

As a result of being on the list and featured on Fox News, Allen said she received “vile emails, tweets” and two crude voicemails.

Though she agrees “free speech is under threat” on college campuses like Middlebury, Allen compares the crude messages she has received to violent protests against libertarian scholar Charles Murray:

[F]speech also needs protection from assaults from the right. Both sides have developed dangerous tactics for silencing those who disagree with them.

Turning Point’s Matt Lamb, who oversees the watchlist, told The College Fix in an email:

The work of an academic comprises not just what they directly say in the classroom but what they say outside of the classroom. By comparing Trump to Hitler, which she did, she sends a message to Trump supporters in her classrom [sic]: they too, are just like Nazis. It is beyond ironic that a professor says she wants to advance political dialogue, while comparing people she opposes to Nazis.

Read the op-ed.

UPDATE: The Professor Watchlist defended its inclusion of Allen on the list after this post was published. Its comments have been included.

MORE: ‘Watchlist’ creators say criticism is misguided, overblown

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