Purdue student called to meet Dean over Facebook post criticizing Black Lives Matter

UPDATE:  I sent an email to the Dean, as well as to the President of Purdue. I reproduce both my email and the President’s response below. President Daniels denies there were any threats, but calling a student into an administrative meeting to “explore possible ways to establish a dialogue” seems to me like intimidation. Well, read for yourself.

Me to Andrew Pettee, copied to Purdue’s President and Dean of Students:

Dear Dr. Pettee,

I was distressed to learn that you have called one of your university’s  students, Joshua Nash, to your office for a discussion about his “alleged comments on Facebook.”  I have read Nash’s comments about the  Black Lives Matter movement, and find those comments deplorable, but that’s no reason to call him to account, scare him by holding a meeting  whose subject is withheld from him, and especially, as he’s said, to threaten him with expulsion. As you’re surely aware, what Nash says on social media counts as free speech, and should not be dealt with in anyway by your university. (An exception would be if he harasses or threatens other students, which he apparently didn’t).

At the University of Chicago we wouldn’t have any administrative contact with a student about his or her remarks on social media, for our  University has an unremitting policy of free speech. Apparently Purdue doesn’t.

I’ve written about this incident on my website, which has over 41,000 followers. I hope Purdue finally learns to do the right thing and stop threatening students for their extracurricular statements.

https://whyevolutionistrue.wordpress.com/2016/07/12/purdue-student-called-to-meet-dean-over-facebook-post-criticizing-black-lives-matter/

Yours sincerely,
Jerry Coyne

From President Mitch Daniels to me;

Thank you for your inquiry.  Purdue Northwest has never suggested, let alone threatened, the idea of disciplining the student in question for exercising his right to freedom of expression.  When, as here, an administrative meeting is called with a student on our Calumet campus, the purpose is to explore possible ways to support or establish a dialogue with that student, not to discipline him or her.  The idea is to see if there might be a teachable moment opportunity for the student, not to treat it as a conduct matter.  Protecting free speech is of central importance to our university, a commitment recognized by the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education when it conferred on Purdue Northwest its highest “green light” rating for its speech policies.  Nothing involved in our administrative meeting process represents an abridgement of that stance.

*******

I have mixed feelings about the Black Lives Matter (BLM) movement. They have eminently justifiable complaints about racism, but, as someone who grew up with the nonviolence and peaceful protests of the civil rights movement of the Sixties, I see some of their tactics as counterproductive. It was unconscionable, I thought, for the BLM to block the Gay Pride parade in Toronto and hold it hostage until their list of demands was met.  That’s hardly civil disobedience! Nor do I see criticism of the BLM, a generally positive movement, as equivalent to racism. Back in the day, for instance, one could criticize the Black Panthers while praising the NAACP.

That aside, a student at Purdue University named Joshua Nash apparently did criticize the BLM—on his Facebook page (see story here and here). As Reason.com reports:

“Black Lives Matter is trash because they do not really care about black lives,” Nash recalled writing on Facebook, according to The College Fix. “They simply care about making money and disrupting events for dead people.” Someone reported the comment to Facebook, which removed it and suspended him for a month.

On Twitter, Nash describes himself as a gay conservative Christian who uses the pronouns “God, Overlord, and #DangerousFaggot,” the latter being a reference to Breitbart tech editor Milo Yiannopoulos. A Purdue administrator told Nash that describing himself in such a manner was “homopohobic,” according to The Fix.

At any rate, Nash’s comments‚—which I deplore—have gotten him in trouble with his University. On his Twi**er page he reproduced a letter he got from the Director of Student Assistance, Leadership, and conduct, asking for an “administrative meeting” regarding “alleged comments [he] made on Facbook:

Now it’s not clear that Nash’s problematic comments refer to the Black Lives Movement, though I suspect they do, but it doesn’t really matter. Whatever Nash says on social media—besides threatening or harassing other students, of which there’s no report—counts as free speech, and should not subject him to sanctions, much less the chilling request for an “administrative meeting” with the Purdue administration.

I can imagine how scared Nash, a biology major, is about this meeting—a meeting about which the University will provide no details, although they’ve apparently threatened him with expulsion.

Since receiving the summons, Nash said he asked the university for more details during a phone call. He alleges that, over the phone, a campus official said his social media comments could result in his expulsion. The College Fix could not immediately reach a campus official Friday to confirm or deny the claim.

Nash said the campus official he spoke to called the “#DangerousFaggot” in his Twitter bio “homophobic” over the phone.

“Those were their words,” according to Nash.

The #DangerousFaggot hashtag was made popular by Yiannopoulos, who toured college campuses nationwide under that moniker.

Nash told The Fix campus officials rejected his request for an email outlining specific details regarding the nature of his summons. He alleges they told him he must wait until he attends the required Administrative Meeting. Nash said he plans to attend the meeting, now slated for early August, with an attorney.

Pettee apparently runs the office of the Dean of Students (though not himself the Dean) at Purdue, and his website is here, along with an email address that you can use (and I will use) to email him.

Defending bigots is not the world’s most pleasant task, but it’s something we have to do for a greater good: preserving the free speech that undergirds all democracy.

 

76 Comments

  1. Posted July 12, 2016 at 11:04 am | Permalink

    One caution: though the media likes to report on the most disruptive protests (and I don’t like those either), many of the protests/meetings are actually quite peaceful.

    Here is a story about the one in Peoria, IL. I wonder if most meetings are more like this one than the ones that generate the headlines.

    “http://www.pjstar.com/news/20160711/black-lives-vigil-encourages-more-community-involvement”

    • mikeyc
      Posted July 12, 2016 at 11:45 am | Permalink

      Quite right. Here in Seattle the various BLM actions have been constructive, peaceful and by and large not disruptive – anymore than is reasonable – it *is* a protest movement after all.

      Also, not that anyone here is suggesting otherwise, to the extent that there is a central BLM movement they have for some time now declared their objectives (called “Campaign Zero” – I honestly don’t know what the “Zero” refers to).

      Because there seems to me to be a lot unfair negative media attention to BLM, I think their objectives should be more widely spread.

      Here they are.

      1. End “broken windows” policing, which aggressively polices minor crimes in an attempt to stop larger ones.
      2. Use community oversight for misconduct rather than having the police department decide what consequences officers should face. (this one is bait problematic to me)
      3. Make standards for reporting police use of deadly force.
      4. Independently investigate and prosecute police misconduct.
      5. Have the racial makeup of police departments reflect the communities they serve.
      6. Require officers to wear body cameras.
      7. Provide more training for police officers.
      8. End for-profit policing practices.
      9. End the police use of military equipment.
      10. Implement police union contracts that hold officers accountable for misconduct.

      Seems reasonable to me, for the most part. #2 is a problem in ti’s detail- if you read what they propose they are asking for no police involvement in oversight. This makes no sense – oversight must include those who are familiar wight he work police must do. IMO, of course.

      But otherwise I hope people who see this will agree that these are good starting points and (if I am not being too Polly Annish) a path to find our way out.

      • Heather Hastie
        Posted July 12, 2016 at 12:50 pm | Permalink

        There is a tendency in the media to sensationalism, obviously, so when BLM protests literally calling for dead cops occur, they become a focus.

        Another example, the movement started with the Trayvon Martin case, but the narrative from many on places like Fox is that it started with the Michael Brown case. Of course, that case started the false narrative of “hands up, don’t shoot.”

        Yesterday I heard a BLM leader call for all police to be abolished and for community solutions to be found. That’s an obviously ridiculous suggestion, but does epitomize the level of distrust in LEOs in many areas.

        Too many don’t recognize the deep level of racism that still exists in many parts of US society. That failure is exemplified in the comments of those who are blaming Obama for the current situation. Apparently (from Fox again) a black president shows the country is no longer significantly racist and as an African-American he could bring the country together. They think he has made it worse by expressing sympathy towards the families of African-Americans killed by white police officers. I think having Obama as president has given them the feeling that if they speak out something might actually change, which it is in many police forces.

        • Simon
          Posted July 12, 2016 at 2:33 pm | Permalink

          BLM is a Twitter movement, and like most SocJus Twitter movements it is rife with entitlement and intolerance of criticism. Such movements are extremely dangerous when they get to control the narrative because they can easily lead to tragic consequences as they have already done in this case with events in Dallas, amongst others. There appears to be a dangerous level of emotion abroad in the US over policing in the US right now.

          The statistics on police killings in the US are not at all clear cut. The statistics show a racial disparity in numbers killed by police. They also show, at least in one study I’ve read, that white people are more likely to be shot when involved in confrontations with the police than black people. One can spend a month of Sundays examining the data and it would be extremely difficult to reach any conclusions about racism playing a significant roll.

          I have also seen it stated that police are generally better trained in majority black neighborhoods precisely because of politcal sensitivity, but in the current climate such facts, if true, don’t register amongst the howls of righteous indignation.

          • mikeyc
            Posted July 12, 2016 at 5:40 pm | Permalink

            “Such movements are extremely dangerous when they get to control the narrative because they can easily lead to tragic consequences as they have already done in this case with events in Dallas, amongst others.”

            This kind of thinking is why little progress can be made on this issue. You are starting from position that is not helpful.

            It is unfair to connect the violent acts of Micah Johnson and BLM. You are conflating the actions of a disturbed man with an entire group. It is a baseless accusation on its face and does nothing to illuminate the problem – it serves only to bait and exacerbate tensions. And what did you mean by “…amongst others”? What other “tragic consequences” are you going to lay at the feet of BLM?

            “The statistics on police killings in the US are not at all clear cut.”

            Lies, damn lies and statistics. I cannot apprehend the the confusion of ideas that would lead one to think that black Americans are at lesser risk of violence from police than other racial groups. One would have to be singularly unaware of what life is like for black people (especially young black males) to think this is true.

            I have little doubt that you can carefully parse out some statistic to support your contention “…that white people are more likely to be shot when involved in confrontations with the police than black people”, but I am equally certain that there is overwhelming evidence that the argument is unsupportable.

            • Posted July 12, 2016 at 5:57 pm | Permalink

              “Lies, damn lies and statistics. I cannot apprehend the the confusion of ideas that would lead one to think that black Americans are at lesser risk of violence from police than other racial groups. One would have to be singularly unaware of what life is like for black people (especially young black males) to think this is true.”

              OK once again I’m going to go there. 26% of police killings in 2015 were blacks. https://www.washingtonpost.com/graphics/national/police-shootings/ That 2x the rate you would expect given that blacks amount to 13% of the population. BUT blacks account for 3x the violent crime arrest rate, they also are disproportionately subject to police harassment (profiling, or just the fact they disproportionately live in violent neighborhoods that are policed more). Given those facts, and the fact that black juveniles make up 16% of the population, and account for over 50% of violent crime arrests, 26% seems surprisingly low to me. It seems like cops are disproportionately avoiding the opportunities they have to kill blacks.
              All that being said I’ll ask again, for the second time in a week, why, beyond what seems intuitively to be the case, my opinion regarding these numbers is wrong. I mean if you ask me does it seem that cops are killing more blacks unjustly the answer is yes, but is it true, or does it just seem to be true because BLM, and the liberal media has been very successfully selling that narrative?

              • Posted July 12, 2016 at 6:13 pm | Permalink

                *Given those facts, and the fact that black juveniles make up 16% of the population, and account for over 50% of violent crime arrests…
                That should have read in case it seemed confusing “they make up 16% of the population, and account for over 50% of violent crime arrests among juveniles”

              • mikeyc
                Posted July 12, 2016 at 7:15 pm | Permalink

                With respect Mr. Paps, I think you are equating two populations that don’t share the same characteristics. It’s not really that far off though, so it’s not apples to oranges; it’s more like Macintosh to Granny Smith. So to really beat the analogy into submission…. Statistically speaking, people perceive Granny Smiths as tarter than Macintoshs. But since more people eat Macintoshs than Granny Smith (totally made that up) one could conclude that people do not prefer tart apples. In reality the larger market share for Macintosh could be due to other things, such as price or availability or shelf life.

                On the one hand you have the population of Americans killed by police, of which blacks make up a disproportionate number. On the other hand you have arrests for violent crime, a population in which blacks are also disproportionately represented but, as you note, at a somewhat higher proportion. One could conclude that means because police arrest black people for violent crime at a rate higher than expected given the kill rate in the general population, that police are less likely to kill blacks than other races. But that is true one if those who are killed by police are killed only when arrested for violent crime.

                That is absurd, of course, as recent events so tragically show. After all, in neither of the two recent deaths (murders) that have propelled the debate were the victims suspected of violent crime and one was not even arrested. A better estimate of racial lethality by police would be the rate of killing per interaction with police for any reason, arrest or not.

                Frankly, I don’t know where that would fall out. I may well be MORE supportive of your position.

              • Posted July 12, 2016 at 8:23 pm | Permalink

                “But that is true one (only?) if those who are killed by police are killed only when arrested for violent crime.
                That is absurd, of course, as recent events so tragically show.”

                That wasn’t the only time they are killed as I said in my initial comment. Blacks are killed during routine traffic stops which they are more subject to. And they are 3x more likely than whites to be searched during routine traffic stops. http://www.bjs.gov/index.cfm?ty=tp&tid=702

                Given the number of interactions, and depth of interaction 26% seems low, or at least not excessive. Now I’m not saying police aren’t profiling the people they stop, consciously or not, nor am I saying they aren’t treating blacks differently. The fact they are searching them at 3 times the rate speaks volumes, but I see no evidence they are killing them at a rate higher than one might expect based on those interactions. Yes all of this is a problem, but the problem isn’t that cops are intentionally executing blacks.

              • mikeyc
                Posted July 12, 2016 at 8:44 pm | Permalink

                (sorry about the threading – there is no “reply” beneath the comment I am responding to)

                Mike Paps wrote; “Blacks are killed during routine traffic stops which they are more subject to.”

                Yes, that’s my point. You are comparing two populations – the number of Americans killed by police and the number of Americans arrested for violent crime. If I have understood correctly, you are saying that the proportion of blacks in the first is not consistent with the proportion in the second. Those two populations overlap somewhat but not completely; the number of Americans who are killed by police includes those who are not even arrested, let alone for violent crime. That is, there may be other reasons for the lethality of police/black interactions (whether it is higher or lower than other races) than the nature of the alleged crime.

                I think the number of Americans killed by police whose motive is racial animus is very low and does not contribute to the overall rate. But there is no doubt that African Americans have far more interactions with police than white Americans. The reasons for that are many (including higher crime rates) but the contention of BLM and many others is that those reasons include racial bias. One recent study in the Oakland area showed that blacks were twice as likely to be stopped by police for any reason and *whether or not they were arrested* were 10 times more likely to be put in restraints (typically handcuffs). That is a recipe for disaster.

                I think it is important to listen to what BLM is saying. They aren’t saying the police are killing them out of racial animus, they are saying they are being unfairly targeted by police.

              • Posted July 12, 2016 at 9:19 pm | Permalink

                “I think it is important to listen to what BLM is saying. They aren’t saying the police are killing them out of racial animus, they are saying they are being unfairly targeted by police.”

                What I think they seem to be saying is both, and I would say the latter is more of a societal (racism, and poverty) problem than a police problem. I don’t know enough about police training to suggest they could be less inclined to use deadly force without putting their lives at greater risk. I suppose if we paid many enough they might be willing to patrol with only tazers, and rubber bullets.

            • somer
              Posted July 13, 2016 at 8:42 am | Permalink

              1152 people killed by police in the US in 2015. (of course much bigger number of homocides overall)
              BBC 30% of fatal police shootings are of black Americans
              Blacks are 13% of the US population
              97% of deaths were not followed up by any charges against police officers
              Source: http://www.bbc.com/news/world-us-canada-36732908

              • somer
                Posted July 13, 2016 at 8:56 am | Permalink

                that said if according to Mike Paps “black juveniles make up 16% of the population, and account for over 50% of violent crime arrests” expectation of Violent crime is a reason for the police to be jumpy – violence happens fast and unexpectedly – and we need to be respectful of the fact that it is their lives on the line in seeking to deal with violent crime within the law in a gun riddled society.Not sure source and year of Mike Paps figures. There is genuine background racism in many parts of society and African Americans are understandably upset that many completely innocent people get shot and there are no prosecutions. Its a messy situation, but rage and righteousness don’t help.

          • Heather Hastie
            Posted July 12, 2016 at 5:57 pm | Permalink

            I’ve heard about the Harvard study too, but not seen it. I wondered if it might be because white people are less likely to be pulled up for minor things, so on a percentage basis they would be more likely to be shot. You’d really have to dig into the data to know whether or not it, or any other survey, was valid.

            • Posted July 12, 2016 at 6:04 pm | Permalink

              Yeah the real question isn’t are black people being disproportionately killed by cops. That’s a no branier, and the answer is yes. The real question is are blacks being disproportionately killed per interaction with cops. If they aren’t you can’t say cops are killing people because they are black. you can only say cops are more likely to kill people they pull over, or arrest.

              • Jeremy Tarone
                Posted July 13, 2016 at 9:51 am | Permalink

                “The real question is are blacks being disproportionately killed per interaction with cops.”

                There are more ‘real’ questions than just that one. Are blacks being targeted by police in some communities? It appears the answer is yes.
                http://www.ibtimes.com/doj-ferguson-report-how-elected-officials-used-racism-generate-millions-revenue-1837076

                http://www.vox.com/2016/7/8/12128858/police-racism-officers-admit

                Is use of force equal between whites and blacks? The answer appears to be no.
                http://www.nytimes.com/2016/07/08/us/study-supports-suspicion-that-police-use-of-force-is-more-likely-for-blacks.html?_r=0

                Are killings by police equally justifiable? It appears the answer is no. Blacks killed by police twice as likely to be unarmed.
                https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2015/jun/01/black-americans-killed-by-police-analysis

                Blacks are more likely to get harsher sentences even when all other factors are the same. Blacks are far more likely to be arrested for marijuana use or possession.
                Once arrested they are far more likely to receive jail than whites, and in sentencing are likely to receive longer sentences.

                It seems blacks are getting special treatment from the justice system from beginning to end. And not in a good way.

                If minorities are being targeted for extra attention by the police, and it appears they are, then they are having more opportunities to have a sub optimal interaction with a police officer.
                Study finds Boston police target African-Americans disproportionately:
                http://www.cnn.com/2014/10/09/us/boston-police-stop-frisk/
                This is just one of many cities that target black communities for extra attention. In cities all over the US the police are used as a revenue making scheme through ticketing. They often target the people who have the least ability to fight back (legally) and make a fuss. That is often the poor black areas.

                Police in many communities have implemented the stop and frisk policy, a policy that targets people who are doing nothing wrong. Police have been told repeatedly by the courts that they are in contravention of the law when they stop and frisk without justification.
                http://washingtonmonthly.com/magazine/janfeb-2014/driving-while-black/

                Blacks that run afoul of the police are more likely to be charged, and once charged more likely to face prison than whites, regardless of income except for the wealthiest.
                https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/wonk/wp/2016/03/23/poor-white-kids-are-less-likely-to-go-to-prison-than-rich-black-kids/

                I have to point out the stop and frisk policies in many US cities have little to do with violent crime. They are all about finding drugs and weapons and the police can’t determine if the person has the weapon for the purposes of assault or self defence. That means interactions with police for no reason, a person minding their own business is stopped and frisked, which judges have ruled illegal.
                Technically according to the law and courts it’s the police who are conducting assaults on the innocent. They are laying their hands on people without any provocation or justification.

              • Posted July 13, 2016 at 9:52 am | Permalink

                This comment is way too long, and with many more links than usual. Please keep these comments shorter in the future. Thanks.

              • Posted July 13, 2016 at 2:45 pm | Permalink

                Way more than I have the patience, or inclination to read, but I think indicative of my point that there’s much more to this than what one might intuitively think is happening.
                I do want to add something to my early posts however, and it has to do with blacks making up 13% of the population, and therefor 26% of police killing being disproportionate. While 13% is true nationally it’s not true in all the recent high profile police shootings that come to mind, and may not be true overall in cases where police shoot blacks. Ferguson (Brown) 67% black, Cleveland (Rice) 53% black, Baton Rouge (Sterling) 54% Black, Baltimore (Gray, not a shooting) 64% black, North Charleston, South Carolina (Walter Scott) 46% black. It would be interesting to see whether blacks are disproportionately being killed based on the population where the killings are happening.

      • Torbjörn Larsson
        Posted July 12, 2016 at 12:51 pm | Permalink

        “8. End for-profit policing practices.”

        This speaks strongly to me. Here in Sweden a bouncer has just been convicted of assault. He, just off his duty elsewhere, hit a French visiting student unconscious from behind during bouncing the Swedish girlfriend for being too drunk. Apparently the language difficulties set off the reaction.

        But all the bouncers involved covered their college’s ass as he attempted to flee from the police!

        Street cameras were used in court, and the police involved speak of the cover up behavior among bouncers. Bouncers are hired as public servants to help the police, but the result is they act criminally in cases.

        We must change this.

        [The French student, now an engineer I think, is still rattled. Who wouldn’t be?

        But at least physically well I take it.]

      • Mark R.
        Posted July 12, 2016 at 1:03 pm | Permalink

        11. Stop the “War on Drugs” and implement treatment facilities.

      • jay
        Posted July 12, 2016 at 1:03 pm | Permalink

        It’s all nice on the website. Plenty of downright ugly things have happened (in addition to the Toronto incident Jerry referred to).

        One video recently was taken at a memorial for the Orlando victims. The invited BLM speaker immediately expresses her contempt for the fact that white people are in the audience. When a gay couple objects, they too are shouted down.

        There are a number of videos of actions at colleges that, if a white person did that he’d be arrested, simply get overlooked by fearful university administrators.

        My wife works for a major university, and has become quite uncomfortable of late with the climate.

      • Scott Draper
        Posted July 12, 2016 at 3:50 pm | Permalink

        “End “broken windows” policing”

        “Broken Windows” has been widely credited for the dramatic drop in violent crime since the early 90s, so I’m skeptical of any initiative to get rid of it.

        “End for-profit policing practices.”

        I’m not sure what this means, but if it refers to policing behavior designed to increase departmental revenues, then these should end. It shouldn’t be profitable to discover people violating various ordinances, because it creates motivations other than improving public safety.

        • mikeyc
          Posted July 12, 2016 at 5:22 pm | Permalink

          “I’m not sure what this means, but if it refers to policing behavior designed to increase departmental revenues…”

          That is what they mean.

          • Posted July 12, 2016 at 6:20 pm | Permalink

            “That is what they mean.”

            It may amount to that, but that isn’t the intent. The intent is to go after non-violent criminals, (window breakers for example) with the hope that the intervention will make it less likely they evolve into more violent criminals.

            • Posted July 12, 2016 at 6:33 pm | Permalink

              I wanted to add that the reason BLM opposes “broken windows” policing is that they believe rather than rehabilitating young blacks, it brands them as criminals, and make it more likely they’ll embrace a criminal culture.
              I don’t think that’s an unreasonable opinion. It’s a policy that works differently on a white middle class suburban kid, than a poor black kid in the inner city, who likely already believes the cops are out to get them.

            • mikeyc
              Posted July 12, 2016 at 7:25 pm | Permalink

              I was referring to Mr Draper’s comment on the BLM goal of “End(ing) for-profit policing practices.”

              One of the many complaints by poor people (of which blacks are disproportionately represented) is that for-profit policing – or the practice of seeking out and fining people for minor infractions (broken tail lights, “California Rolls” as stops signs, that kind of thing) in order to generate revenue plays into the dysfunctional relationship between the black community and the police. For poor people the fines levied for revenue purposes may be a big burden to pay. This results in the poor disproportionately subject to bench warrants for failure to pay and that means they have more frequent interactions with police. This was a major issue in Ferguson MO.

              • Posted July 12, 2016 at 8:30 pm | Permalink

                “This results in the poor disproportionately subject to bench warrants for failure to pay and that means they have more frequent interactions with police.”

                Yes another reason why a system that might work on the middle class (the group that’s largely designing these law enforcement systems) doesn’t work on the poor.

              • Filippo
                Posted July 13, 2016 at 3:38 pm | Permalink

                “ . . . California Rolls” as [at?] stops signs . . . .”

                So as not to offend the delicate sensibilities of one or more demographics (apparently possessed of an exquisitely-refined sense of entitlement), shall we do away with stop signs at intersections, and let the chips (and vehicle and body parts) fall where they may?

                The Stop Sign Manufacturers Association will predict and lament the loss of jobs.

              • Merilee
                Posted July 13, 2016 at 5:15 pm | Permalink

                This former California girl has never understood the concept of California rolls or stops. Canadians, for example, are much much worse at gliding through or even ignoring stop signs. After 30+ years here in Ontario I’ve finally lowered my stop sign standards. In California my experience was that people came to a full stop ( full stop, as the Brits would have it) if they didn’t want to be nailed with a ticket.

      • Filippo
        Posted July 13, 2016 at 4:09 pm | Permalink

        “Here in Seattle the various BLM actions have been constructive, peaceful and by and large not disruptive – anymore than is reasonable – it *is* a protest movement after all.”

        OK, what specific organinization(s) or entity ought to step forward to be willing to fall on their swords for the sake of accommodating the exquisite BLM sense of entitlement to disrupt? What is “reasonable”? Do I correctly remember that BLM disrupted and shut down a Sanders rally in Seattle several months ago? Does anyone have no less a right to disrupt and shut down a BLM event? Or is that “unreasonable”?

        • mikeyc
          Posted July 13, 2016 at 5:58 pm | Permalink

          “OK, what specific organinization(s) or entity ought to step forward to be willing to fall on their swords for the sake of accommodating the exquisite BLM sense of entitlement to disrupt?”

          I don’t understand what you are asking.

          “What is “reasonable”?”

          It all depends on your tolerance for opposing views and how important it is for you to keep moving in traffic.

          “Do I correctly remember that BLM disrupted and shut down a Sanders rally in Seattle several months ago?”

          Interrupted yes, shut down no. Mr Sanders supported the interruption and his rally went as planned.

          “Does anyone have no less a right to disrupt and shut down a BLM event? Or is that “unreasonable”?”

          You do understand that BLM is a protest movement, right? Protestors of whatever issue disrupt things, else it wouldn’t be a protest. Some people have little tolerance for people expressing views they don’t agree with, much less when they do it in such a way as to inconvenience them. The degree of intolerance for the views has a big impact on whether or not one sees a protest as “unreasonable”.

          • Filippo
            Posted July 13, 2016 at 8:39 pm | Permalink

            “You do understand that BLM is a protest movement, right? Protestors of whatever issue disrupt things, else it wouldn’t be a protest.”

            I respectfully and cheerily acknowledged your statement, and personal opinion of what the definition of “protest,” is.

            • Filippo
              Posted July 13, 2016 at 8:40 pm | Permalink

              I made a grammar error, but you get it.

  2. ladyatheist
    Posted July 12, 2016 at 11:08 am | Permalink

    He should transfer to Ball State.

  3. jay
    Posted July 12, 2016 at 11:38 am | Permalink

    I looked over this, and I’m not sure I’ve seen anything I’d consider bigotry. Bigot is a strong word meaning displaying intense hate.

    He appears to be simply making comments that I don’t necessarily share, but I do thing that BLM has some violent behavioral problems (we’ve seen videos of this) as well as turning some assorted criminals into martyrs.

    [After all this hubbub, I’ve read some of Milo’s articles… he does make some good points]

    • Torbjörn Larsson
      Posted July 12, 2016 at 12:41 pm | Permalink

      “big·ot (bĭg′ət)
      n.

      One who is strongly partial to one’s own group, religion, race, or politics and is intolerant of those who differ.

      bigot (ˈbɪɡət)
      n
      a person who is intolerant of any ideas other than his or her own, esp on religion, politics, or race”

      et cetera.

      [ http://www.thefreedictionary.com/bigot ]

      Displaying intolerance seems to suffice.

      • Simon
        Posted July 12, 2016 at 2:43 pm | Permalink

        Well that sets a pretty low bar, and also not very precise. Depends on what lies behind the intolerance. I’m intolerant of dishonest identity politics because it looks impervious to reason. Am I a bigot now?

        This Nash guy gives an opinion about BLM. How does that make him a bigot?

    • Geoffrey Howe
      Posted July 12, 2016 at 11:34 pm | Permalink

      I agree. The comment is very cynical, but not bigotted in any traditional use of the term. If this comment is bigotted, then so is every atheist who claims that religious is a scam.

      He said they’re a ‘trash’ group. Well, I think a lot of groups I disagree with are trash. Like Islam. Am I Islamophobic now?

      And he says that they only care about making money. Well, like when this is said against the religious, I don’t buy it, but it’s not bigotted, as I’m sure there are some preachers, and some BLM protestors, who are in the church/movement for something other than principle.

      Now, it’s one tweet. This guy might actually be a bigot, I don’t know. But this one quote is far more that of a cynic than a bigot.

  4. Posted July 12, 2016 at 11:39 am | Permalink

    This “monitor the students outside of school by school staff” has bugged me ever since elementary school, when the teachers were punishing students for (admittedly stupid for the most part) behaviour in the park next to (but independent of) the school. Students were for example threatened with punishment merely for *attending* a threatened fight between two of the students. By all means, call the parents, police, whatever on the students fighting, but …

    Speech acts are even worse to punish “outside”.

    • Filippo
      Posted July 13, 2016 at 3:54 pm | Permalink

      ” . . . “monitor the students outside of school by school staff . . . .”

      Well, teachers have their orders from omniscient uppity-ups. I speculate that most teachers would rather not have it to deal with, if they can possibly help it. Everyone needs the “privilege” and experience of dealing with adolescent human primates, especially males. (If it happens on campus, teachers are expected to somehow break up fights. How many teachers are [permanently] injured doing so? Not a few state legislatures, in their wisdom, impose “in loco parentis” responsibility on teachers. I’m also reminded of “Good Samaritan” laws imposed on health care professionals. [This sort of thing is not mentioned in university education-major glossy brochures.] Not exactly a carrot to prompt one to make a career of teaching.

      Perhaps the students could trouble themselves to remove themselves sufficiently far away and out of sight of anyone on school property, in their pursuit of the Darwin Award?

  5. jay
    Posted July 12, 2016 at 11:45 am | Permalink

    The ironic thing is that if he had made similar statements about Israel (the only place in the Middle East where gays and women are safe), he would not have been bothered.

    • Kiwi Dave
      Posted July 12, 2016 at 4:29 pm | Permalink

      You are almost certainly right.

      One has to wonder just how the university decides which views require a ‘teachable moment’ and, given the imbalances of power here, how the administration can’t see its action as a threat to both the student and to free speech.

  6. mordacious1
    Posted July 12, 2016 at 11:45 am | Permalink

    “Defending bigots is not the world’s most pleasant task…”

    Did I miss something? Why is this guy a bigot who needs defending? I haven’t been following this story, but so far I haven’t seen anything that shows him to be a bigot. Perhaps we’re defending someone who has merely been accused of bigotry, which would make it even more important to defend him. That word is thrown around so often these days. If you disagree with my ideas, you’re a bigot or a racist or a sexist. It’s much easier to call you that that deconstruct your argument.

    • mikeyc
      Posted July 12, 2016 at 12:01 pm | Permalink

      Yeah that word is thrown around far to much. It’s a way to silence dissent or differing opinions.

      I do think Dr Ceiling Cat was making making reference to the fact that we really don’t know what the young man said but if it really was bigoted he should STILL be defended.

      • Simon
        Posted July 12, 2016 at 2:49 pm | Permalink

        Then why did he refer to the comments as deplorable?

        • Posted July 12, 2016 at 2:55 pm | Permalink

          I stopped, mid-comment, to take a phone call and you beat me to the punch.

        • gravelinspector-Aidan
          Posted July 12, 2016 at 5:37 pm | Permalink

          Quoting Voltaire, or “following the style of” Voltaire, I thought on reading that.

      • Posted July 12, 2016 at 2:54 pm | Permalink

        Well Jerry does say that he “deplores” Nash’s comments. So apparently he saw something he found offensive, or bigoted. I didn’t read through Nash’s comments, so I’m sure which one(s), exactly, he is talking about.

        • Geoffrey Howe
          Posted July 12, 2016 at 11:37 pm | Permalink

          I don’t think he’s a bigot, but if I was going to make the case that he was, I’d say it’s from the idea that they’re just trying to make money. It’s a sufficiently cynical statement that it might be interpretted as something to only be said by someone with an irrational hatred.

          However, I prefer to be very careful with my use of words like bigot and racist, as they’re already overused. And if that statement is bigotted, then so is, for example, America Atheists, for saying that religion is all a scam.

          Rude and cynical, but not biggoted, in both cases.

  7. ploubere
    Posted July 12, 2016 at 11:58 am | Permalink

    I did send a note to Mr. Pettee, respectfully reminding him that this incident is being watched by the larger academic community and asking him to clarify Purdue’s policies on this matter. But at present it has the appearance of an attempt to silence a student with whom they disagree, which would be counter to the most basic principles of academia.

  8. Diana MacPherson
    Posted July 12, 2016 at 12:07 pm | Permalink

    If I were that student I’d want to leave Purdue. How awful that they are trying to prevent him from expressing himself on his own time.

    • mordacious1
      Posted July 12, 2016 at 12:17 pm | Permalink

      If he leaves, they win.

      • Diana MacPherson
        Posted July 12, 2016 at 5:26 pm | Permalink

        I don’t know who wins. When employers were horrible to me, I felt I won when I left and they lost because they no longer had my talent at their disposal.

    • Heather Hastie
      Posted July 12, 2016 at 12:59 pm | Permalink

      I agree with you both. It’s disgusting that he’s being threatened in this way because of social media posts.

      I’m also disgusted with Facebook for banning him. I bet they’ve never censured the Saudi government, the Russian government, the Zimbabwe government, or any other government or its officials that has homophobic legislation.

      • Simon
        Posted July 12, 2016 at 2:57 pm | Permalink

        Not at all unexpected. It is now de rigeur for Social media to employ online abusers like Randi Harper and Steph Guthrie-like sociopaths to police communications. They have effectively taken to defining abuse or harassment as criticism of the favoured ideology while permitting abuse and harassment going the other way. Social media are now a tool of SJWs.

  9. Copyleft
    Posted July 12, 2016 at 12:09 pm | Permalink

    I’m still processing the charge that he’s guilty of homophobic comments AGAINST HIMSELF.

    • jay
      Posted July 12, 2016 at 12:35 pm | Permalink

      This is a frightening, but true development. In more and more circumstances, it’s a matter of what some third party listener decides to be offended by that gets speakers into trouble.

      Where I work a man and a woman, both friends, got disciplined for ‘sexual harassment’ –for friendly banter between each other.

      • infiniteimprobabilit
        Posted July 12, 2016 at 1:44 pm | Permalink

        Not to mention the occasional case where some demented assistant DA charges some 15-year-old girl with sex offences against minors for sending a nude pic *of herself* to her boyfriend…

        cr

      • Posted July 13, 2016 at 11:23 am | Permalink

        In some places sexual harassment policies are explicit (er …) in their rules to protect “every listener”. I think the objective is to help avoid a situation where someone was cowed into not reporting …

        Is this a good idea? I don’t know …

    • gravelinspector-Aidan
      Posted July 12, 2016 at 5:40 pm | Permalink

      Self-hate is not a permitted opinion in this Best Of All Possible Worlds. (More Voltaire.)

  10. Bernardo
    Posted July 12, 2016 at 12:12 pm | Permalink

    What worries me most about this post is actually the Facebook censorship that he got. Now you can’t say what you want even on social media!

  11. Kevin
    Posted July 12, 2016 at 1:30 pm | Permalink

    I would grovel. I would write an open letter expressing my deepest apologies for hurting anyone’s feelings. And I that I am now consumed with fire of regret for ever having contemplated such vile thoughts, etc.

    Those members of our society who are against freedom of speech should be given a healthy dose of satire mired by insincerity.

    • gravelinspector-Aidan
      Posted July 12, 2016 at 5:44 pm | Permalink

      And I that I am now consumed with fire of regret for ever having contemplated such vile thoughts, etc.

      Hmmm sounds like threatening self-harm to me. I think that protective custody at a secure psychiatric unit is appropriate, until the detention ceases to be profitable, or the heat death of the universe, whichever comes later.

  12. Merilee
    Posted July 12, 2016 at 2:11 pm | Permalink

    Sub

  13. James Walker
    Posted July 12, 2016 at 2:36 pm | Permalink

    I was at the Toronto Pride parade at which the BLM protest occurred and all that happened is that an already long parade was made 30 minutes longer. Nobody was hurt and the paraders and audience took it in stride. It’s a bit hard to take people to task for engaging in political protest at what started out 35 years ago as a protest. The only one of their demands I disagreed with was that the police not participate in future Pride parades – it’s taken over 30 years to develop the relationship between the police and the gay community in Toronto and their inclusion in the parade is a sign of that progress. While there are race issues that need to be addressed with the police, it’s not nearly as bad here as it is in the US (plus, the current chief of police in Toronto is black).

    • Mark R.
      Posted July 12, 2016 at 4:00 pm | Permalink

      Thanks for presenting your experience at the Toronto Pride parade. In heightened emotional times like these, facts are paramount.

    • gravelinspector-Aidan
      Posted July 12, 2016 at 5:47 pm | Permalink

      (plus, the current chief of police in Toronto is black).

      Ditto for Dallas (which really surprised me – are the rednecks learning politics)?.

  14. Posted July 12, 2016 at 3:05 pm | Permalink

    sub

  15. Posted July 12, 2016 at 3:55 pm | Permalink

    🐾

  16. aljones909
    Posted July 12, 2016 at 5:35 pm | Permalink

    He said: “Black Lives Matter is trash because they do not really care about black lives”.

    It’s his opinion, shared by many, of an organisation. Why is this a problem?

  17. Posted July 12, 2016 at 6:04 pm | Permalink

    “The idea is to see if there might be a teachable moment opportunity for the student, not to treat it as a conduct matter.”

    I presume the administration didn’t pass up the “teachable moment” when the complainant came to them with the initial complaint. What a perfect opportunity to “support or establish a dialogue” about the free speech principles the university values so highly. What better way to teach that ideas and opinions you find distasteful or offensive are still protected by the ideals of free speech, and that learning to engage those ideas with other, perhaps better, ones is how an openly democratic society progresses.

    • Ken Phelps
      Posted July 12, 2016 at 6:56 pm | Permalink

      +++
      Sadly, it’s clear the inmates are running the asylum.

  18. somer
    Posted July 13, 2016 at 10:47 am | Permalink

    I dont understand why Purdue thinks it has to play god and be enforcer of correct thought and morality in what is someone’s personal life outside university activities and not even on any university platform. His opinions were not threatening to anyone and are none of their business.

    That is simply not the role of a university which is to encourage learning about university topics, not threaten people and foist onto them some bland ideology of non offence according to current PC mores. Completely laughable when they say they defend free speech and call coercion a “teaching moment”.

  19. Posted July 13, 2016 at 3:14 pm | Permalink

    I have just sent the following e-mail:

    “Dear Dr. Pettee,

    I learned from the website of Prof. Jerry Coyne that Joshua Nash, a student at the University of Purdue, has been summoned by the university administration because of his comments on social media. As a university teacher and supporter of free speech, I think that students have the right to express their views without suffering any consequences, and that it is not the task of the university to reform the students’ views or personalities. This is also the policy of my university and other educational institutions of my country. It was adopted in 1989, when transition to democracy took place, and has since proven beneficial to the quality of teaching and research, and to the general well-being of the academic community.

    Yours sincerely,
    (my name flanked by the appropriate letters, plus my affiliation)”

  20. Posted July 13, 2016 at 3:21 pm | Permalink

    Because I keep in mind that Purdue university administrators may visit this thread, I prefer not to comment as candidly as I usually do. Let me just say that, in my opinion, the position of Dr. Pettee – “Director of Student Assistance, Leadership, and Conduct” – should not exist at all on the payroll of any university, particularly in a democratic country.

    • Filippo
      Posted July 13, 2016 at 4:03 pm | Permalink

      I totally agree with you, but try convincing, e.g., a Southern Baptist Convention-affiliated – private – university of the efficacy of that position.


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