No, Professor. Violence Against Campus Speakers is Never Justified

The hate is spinning out of control in America

Brian Tubbs

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Wayne State University’s Old Main — Del arte via Wikimedia Commons

As we mourn another mass shooting, one possibly driven by resentment, we now have a university professor suspended for a vile post in which he endorses killing (yes… killing!) any campus speaker deemed to be “racist, homophobic or transphobic.”

The author of this despicable social media post is apparently an English professor at Wayne State University. According to the university, the matter has been referred to law enforcement and the professor has been suspended “with pay” pending an investigation.

Here is the statement from Wayne University President M. Roy Wilson:

Dear campus community,

This morning, I was made aware of a social media post by a Wayne State University professor in our Department of English.

The post stated that rather than “shouting down” those with whom we disagree, one would be justified to commit murder to silence them. We have on many occasions defended the right of free speech guaranteed by the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, but we feel this post far exceeds the bounds of reasonable or protected speech. It is, at best, morally reprehensible and, at worst, criminal.

We have referred this to law enforcement agencies for further review and investigation. Pending their review, we have suspended the professor with pay, effective immediately.

M. Roy Wilson, March 27, 2023

According to The Detroit Free Press, the offending post read (in part):

“Although I do not advocate violating federal and state criminal codes, I think it is far more admirable to kill a racist, homophobic or transphobic speaker than it is to shout them down.”

It’s promising this professor was suspended. It’s abhorrent and shameful that this professor made such a post in the first place.

And it’s alarming that he undoubtedly speaks for a growing number of people in America whose anger and hatred have long since poisoned their souls.

To be clear…

I support civil rights for all. I abhor bigotry in all forms. And I believe passionately in the freedom of speech. And, as such, I believe people (including professors) should be allowed to post offensive viewpoints without legal or professional penalty.

A line must be drawn, though, when it comes to the encouragement of violence.

If things are as they have thus far been reported, that line was clearly crossed.

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