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Students protest conservative professor who wrote about blacks’ role in slave trade

Students also furious he calls Caitlyn Jenner ‘Bruce’

Unrest on the campus of Florida Atlantic University reached a crescendo recently when students crashed a faculty meeting there to protest a conservative professor at that school, Marshall DeRosa.

In a phone interview with The College Fix, DeRosa said that the protesting students “want my scalp in order to say conservatives, shut the hell up.”

“It’s a poisoned atmosphere for conservatives, and especially Christian conservatives,” he added.

DeRosa, a political science professor who teaches constitutional law, came under fire last week in part because of a recently resurfaced essay in which DeRosa discusses “black supremacy” and its origins to the history of slavery in the United States.

The essay argues that blacks had a significant role in the slave trade that has been ignored in favor of whites’ role in the brutal system. “Suffice it to say that linking the two, slavery with white supremacy is a gross over-simplification,” DeRosa argues in the paper.

DeRosa has also drawn the ire of transgender activists for referring to transgender celebrity Caitlin Jenner, formerly Bruce, as a male. “Bruce is at war with reality, i.e., his maleness,” DeRosa wrote on his blog in 2015.

Students have also criticized the professor for funds he has received from the Koch Foundation*, a libertarian organization frequently targeted by progressives, as well as his former ties to the League of the South, a “Southern nationalist group,” according to The Sun Sentinel.

DeRosa was previously associated with this group, he told The Sentinel, but left it after “unsavory characters” became prominent within it.

Opposition to DeRosa came to a head when angry students stormed a faculty meeting, demanding that the university investigate the professor. One student told DeRosa: “You cannot come to this campus and teach kids a sort of biased political agenda,” according to video of the event posted to Facebook.

“I pay your salary!” the student later tells the assembled faculty. “So don’t tell me I can and cannot speak.”

In the video, DeRosa states that the activists’ efforts have “put [his] family at risk.” The individual filming the video can be heard snickering as he says this.

DeRosa told The Fix that he has the support of the school itself.

“The administration is supporting me,” he said. “They know my record, they know who I am. I don’t have a bigoted bone in my body, I never have.”

In addition to the takeover of the faculty meeting, flyers have also been posted around the university’s campus with the words, “Marshall DeRosa is a white supremacist” plastered on the page with a profile picture of the professor in between two confederate flags, according to the school’s newspaper University Press.

Reached for comment via email, university spokeswoman Lisa Metcalf told The Fix: “To date, no complaints have been filed alleging a violation of the University’s anti-discrimination policies by Dr. DeRosa. If such a complaint were ever filed, it would be appropriately reviewed.”

“In the meantime, FAU maintains its commitments to the value of diversity and to the principles of nonviolent civil discourse and academic freedom, which encourage the free exchange of ideas fundamental to a democratic society,” she added.

DeRosa said he is confident that this controversy will blow over, calling it “a perfect storm for the radical left.”

“This is nothing new; it’s coming to an end,” he said.


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About the Author
Ema Gavrilovic -- DePaul University