Is the state obligated to pay the salary of radicals who want to overturn society or threaten to kill those who say things with which they disagree?
For one public university in Detroit, Michigan, the answer is yes, at least while they figure things out.
A leftwing professor of English at Wayne State University is in hot water after writing a Facebook post in which he called for the murder of conservative speakers who come to campus.
The professor, Steven Shaviro, who describes himself in his Twitter bio as “sex negative” and a “Kitsch Marxist,” has taught “Introduction to Film” courses at Wayne State since 2021.
A local Fox affiliate wrote that the professor took to Facebook this week to say ‘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.
He [went on] to say that protesting right-wing speakers only feeds into what they want, and that is to look like the victims.
FOX 2 spoke to that professor – on the phone. When the reporter told him who [he was speaking to], he immediately said he was not commenting and hung up.”
The university president responded by saying that he disagrees with the professor and that we should in fact not murder those we disagree with.
“The post stated that rather than ‘shouting down’ those with whom we disagree, one would be justified to commit murder to silence them,” Wayne State University President M. Roy Wilson wrote in a statement circulated Monday to the campus community. “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.”
Shaviro’s reward for threatening a vast swath of the student body and attacking free speech with violence was getting some paid time off while the university “investigates.”
We already have a good guess as to what would happen if a student had posted such a post to social media.
The Wayne State professor’s call for violence against conservatives comes on the heels on another case in which leftwingers at Stanford University shouted down a conservative federal judge with the approval of a university leader, who joined in and lectured the speaker.
“Stanford was recently engulfed by protests and chaos when federal judge Kyle Duncan was invited to speak to campus. Stanford University Law School associate dean of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Tirien Steinbach suggested Duncan’s speech was causing pain,” Outkick noted.
Like Shaviro, the DEI Dean was given paid leave and a stern talking-to rather than any real punishment for allegedly breaking Stanford’s “code of conduct.”
Taken together, the two incidences are a good reminder that very often for liberals, conservative speech is violence, while violence perpetrated and encouraged is typically considered speech by the hard leftists at places like Jacobin whose contributing editor is a history professor at Princeton University.
Both Wayne State University and Stanford University continue to receive billions of taxpayer dollars while allowing these kinds of attacks on any form of speech that challenges campus orthodoxy. They do so because it protects the ever-narrowing monoculture of higher education where liberal professors outnumber conservative 12 to 1. They succeed without ramifications because any attempt to rein in radicalism is said to be a crime against “academic freedom,” even though academic freedom is often something considered to be in the eye of the beholder and its very definition is always changing to fit the needs of those in authority.
At some point, a democratic society will begin asking in earnest: why are taxpayers obligated to pay for the salaries of those who would undermine democratic values?
How will the universities answer?