In all the Trump-Clinton noise, you might have missed an important event at the University of Virginia. An adjunct faculty member, a white male, compared Black Lives Matter to the KKK on somebody’s Facebook feed. All hell broke loose. Now the man is on leave. More:
Douglas Muir, an adjunct lecturer for the university’s School of Engineering and Applied Science, made the comment on Oct. 4 in response to a Facebook post by a real estate agent attending an event featuring Black Lives Matter co-founder Alicia Garza.
“Black lives matter is the biggest rasist [sic] organization since the clan,” Muir replied. “Are you kidding me. Disgusting!!!”
Muir’s response, which has since been deleted, prompted a flurry of criticism online, where some noted the misspelling in his original post, and from university officials who said it raised “serious concerns” about the school’s commitment to inclusion.
“While free speech and open discussion are fundamental principles of our nation and the University, Mr. Muir’s comment was entirely inappropriate,” university officials said in a statement. “UVA Engineering does not condone actions that undermine our values, dedication to diversity and educational mission.”
Muir, who teaches entrepreneurship in both the university’s School of Engineering and Darden School of Business, has “agreed to take leave” from the school and is preparing to release his own statement, university officials said.
Wait … what?! I think Muir’s comparison is wildly overstated, but Black Lives Matter is now so holy that you cannot even criticize the group without being sent away for blasphemy?! A reader who is within the Darden School community writes that last week was “Diversity Week” at the school. More:
On Tuesday, students were asked to wear black to “fight against racial injustice.” The student association included pictures of students from other top business schools doing the same thing. Notably, BLM signs were present in those pictures.
This morning people within the school received the below email. I have included it and the attachments. Basically, a professor here had the gall to call out BLM and liken its race baiting to that of the Klan’s. Naturally, this cannot stand. “We…simply will not stand for anything that poses a threat to this mission.” The student association, along with the black students’ association, is demanding that the university, a public one at that, clamp down on dissident speech. Look how this is framed – the University needs to address this to “demonstrate its commitment to enlightenment and intellectual honesty.” The student association is showing that there is no room for alternative views.
Some of the signatories in the DSA statement are going to work in blue chip companies. They will undoubtedly be successful. But it shows the convergence between Big Business and the Left. My vote for Trump next month gets easier all the time.
The reader sent this before the Friday Trump tape drop. I don’t know what his vote will be now. Here’s the e-mail cover letter:
As many of you are aware, a Darden faculty member recently made remarks on social media that stand in stark opposition to the views and values of our school. Both the Darden Student Association (DSA) and Black Business Student Forum (BBSF) are working closely to urge the University of Virginia to demonstrate its commitment to enlightenment and intellectual honesty by addressing these false remarks. Official statements from DSA and BBSF are attached to this email.
During this time, we also encourage our community to continue to come together as One Darden, as demonstrated so powerfully earlier this week (Why We Wear Black). We remain committed to creating an environment that celebrates and elevates diversity and inclusion and simply will not stand for anything that poses a threat to this mission.
-DSA and BBSF
Here’s the text of the accompanying letter from the DSA:
It is of serious concern to us that one faculty member – Douglas Muir – has taken it upon himself to publicly express views which are factually and historically inaccurate and which are undeniably intolerant.
The DSA has worked hard in collaboration with student clubs, community stakeholders, faculty, staff, alumni and the broader Darden community to foster and promote a culture which elevates and celebrates diversity and inclusion. Diversity Week has been a tremendous celebration of this spirit and a marquee week in the DSA calendar. We are proud of our community, and the grace with which it has worked to foster and maintain Darden’s core values.
The values of our community exist in striking opposition to Doug Muir’s stance. We vehemently disagree with his statement and we call upon the University of Virginia and the Darden School of Business to respond swiftly to uphold our values of inclusion, equality, and a dedication to truth and accuracy.
It is the mandate of the DSA to represent the best interests of the Darden student experience. We take this mission extremely seriously and will not stand for intolerance which directly affects our classmates and those around us.
-The Darden Student Association
Molly Duncan, President
Graeme Birrell, Executive Vice President
Sydney Hartsock, Vice President for Diversity
And here’s the attached letter from BSSF:
On October 4th, 2016, Douglas Muir, adjunct Professor at the Darden School of Business and the University of Virginia, posted the following message to Facebook: “Black lives matter is the biggest rasist organisation since the clan. Are you kidding me, Disgusting!!!”.
This comment does not in any way reflect the Darden community. However, mindsets like these have the potential to significantly impact the positive community we seek to foster and protect. Presumably, the statement was in response to the recent presence of Alicia Garza, co-founder of Black Lives Matter, as a speaker on grounds at the University of Virginia.
Mr. Muir’s statement likens Black Lives Matters’ decision to exercise their First Amendment right to gather to the actions of the Ku Klux Klan – an organization which has bombed churches, murdered men, women, and children, and violently protested such proposals as the integration of schools and the extension of the right to vote to African Americans.
Mr. Muir’s comparison of Black Lives Matter to the Ku Klux Klan is outrageous. Black Lives Matter was founded as an expression of Ms. Garza and others’ justified discontent with the experience of many African Americans. The Ku Klux Klan is an organization with a 100+ year history of murder, racism, and intimidation of innocent people. No protest can compare to the terror which the Ku Klux Klan has inflicted upon citizens of our community.
This week was a monumental week for diversity at Darden. Not only did we have great attendance at our event on racial injustice, but we also stood together as One Darden and wore black to represent solidarity. This progress will not be overshadowed and discredited by the comments of one faculty member. The kind of inaccurate and offensive comments made by Mr. Muir threaten to damage the inclusive community that the student body, alumni, Dean Beardsley, and the faculty and staff of Darden have worked hard to foster.
The ignorance of Mr. Muir’s statement speaks for itself. Our goal is to urge the University of Virginia to respond to its own faculty member’s expression of blatantly incorrect views and demonstrate its commitment to enlightenment and intellectual honesty by correcting this false message. This is an opportunity for Darden to stand behind its commitment to an inclusive community.
How Darden reacts from an administrative level will have a huge impact on how students view their experience at Darden. We believe in what Darden represents and we would hate for Mr. Muir’s actions to damage our unique and welcoming community. Mr. Muir is entitled to his opinion, no matter how ignorant it is. He is not entitled to his own facts. We are hopeful that the actions that the University of Virginia takes in response to Mr. Muir’s comments will reflect its commitment to truth and an inclusive environment.
This is insane. Muir’s remark was dumb, but the idea that a university can compel a professor to take a leave of absence for stating a political opinion (however ill-considered) is terrifying. The idea that these righteous, righteous students have no sense that free speech (even offensive speech) ought to be protected, especially within the bounds of a university, is also terrifying. At least the
UVA local Charlottesville newspaper gets it. Excerpts from its editorial:
“For here,” said Thomas Jefferson about his beloved University of Virginia, “we are not afraid to follow truth wherever it may lead, nor to tolerate any error so long as reason is left free to combat it.”
Well, no. Not entirely.
Error will not be tolerated if it is unduly offensive.
The editorial denounces Muir’s comments as “stupid,” but also denounces the university for pressuring Muir to take a leave of absence — and calls b.s. on the pieties pronounced by university officials to justify their abandoning free speech values in a university to placate the Social Justice Warriors at Darden:
UVa said the leave of absence does not infringe upon free speech or academic freedom.
“While free speech and open discussion are fundamental principles of our nation and the university, Mr. Muir’s comment was entirely inappropriate,” a statement from the engineering school said. “UVA Engineering does not condone actions that undermine our values, dedication to diversity and educational mission.”
Sorry, but — in context of the “leave of absence” — what this says is that free speech is tolerated only when it is “appropriate.” Instead of being “fundamental,” it is subservient to other values.
UVa Provost Tom Katsouleas did a little better. He said that the university’s position “against racism and social injustice of any kind … in no way squelches academic freedom, which welcomes dissent and encourages the voices of others whose perspectives may differ from ours — thereby adding new insights to our own. But statements such as Mr. Muir’s do not foster intellectual exploration, nor do they encourage the voices of others.”
These college administrators are lying — to the public, or to themselves, or maybe to both. They are establishing a protected class on campus, or at least a protected organization: Black Lives Matter. And these SJW students are declaring by their actions that no criticism of BLM will be tolerated. True, they might say that it wasn’t the fact of Muir’s criticism that was the problem, but the inflammatory language in which he made it. I don’t believe that for a second. If you were a student or professor today teaching at UVA, would you feel at liberty to utter a single word of criticism of Black Lives Matter, even in polite and respectful language?
Look, people who support BLM ought to have criticized Prof. Muir, and made arguments for why what he said was wrong. That’s what we do in a liberal democracy. Who knows, maybe they could have reasoned with Muir and showed him why comparing BLM to the KKK is wrong. We will never know now, though. Shoot one, teach a thousand: everybody on the campus of the University of Virginia is now on notice that to criticize Black Lives Matter at all — on Twitter, on Facebook, anywhere — could bring onto oneself a world of trouble. So much for Mr. Jefferson’s university. Reason is not allowed into the arena to combat error. It’s only about power now.
These student Jacobins and the gutless college administrators who have no principle but placating them are turning college into puritanical seminaries of the secular left. I do wish that the University of Virginia administration would publicize a list of minority groups, organizations, and causes that members of the UVA community are not allowed to criticize publicly at all, in any way, without serious consequence. It would be a service to scholars, students, and staff at UVA to know where the boundaries of heresy lie, so they can avoid risking their careers being burned at the stake. And it would also be a service to parents getting ready to send their kids off to college, and who don’t want to set them up to be vilified if they happen to say the wrong thing, or voice an unpopular opinion. Plus, it would be a service to parents who don’t want their children to have their minds and characters formed by this campus culture of conformity. If the leadership of a university will not protect one of its professors if and when he utters an unpopular opinion, then they are creating an atmosphere of intellectual fear. The whole university becomes an “unsafe space” for anyone who dissents from the ruling class’s ideology.
I have a friend, a Christian professor who is the soul of gentleness, compassion, and integrity. He suffers constant attack within his college faculty circles over Christian books he has written, even though they are within his discipline. SJW professors keep gunning for him. He’s voting for Trump, not because he likes or has any respect for Trump, but because he lives every day with the vengeful fury of SJWs, and fears what will happen to people like him if Hillary Clinton wins.