Prof wanted to fight Ben Shapiro; students want him promoted
Students have rallied around a University of California-Merced lecturer after his offer to participate in a mixed martial arts (MMA) fight with conservative commentator Ben Shapiro came to light earlier this month, and are demanding that the university promote him to “Assistant Professor.”
"Even though the invited speaker has not yet arrived at our campus, faculty and students are already suffering the real life consequences of hateful speakers’ rhetoric."
An audio recording obtained by Campus Reform earlier this month revealed that UC-Merced Sociology lecturer Dr. Fernando Chirino called Shapiro an “a**hole white supremacist” during a lecture to students, and declared that he would enjoy “ripping this fool’s shoulder out of his socket.”
Shapiro is set to visit UC-Merced’s campus during an upcoming event in February, and although Chirino stated that he “wouldn’t debate [Shapiro],” he suggested that students, “set up some sort of an MMA thing between me and him.”
Students and faculty quickly mobilized to defend Chirino, creating a Twitter page titled, “Justice4Chirino.”
“We will not let our academic freedom be silence or attacked. We are in solidarity with Professor Fernando. We demand justice,” the Justice4Fernando tweeted, accompanied by photos of students raising their fists, and holding signs that read, “Academic Freedom,” and “Say no to Ben Shapiro.”
A graphic posted by the organization on Instagram states, “Say no to Ben Shapiro,” and “No platform for Fascist [sic]!Or Racist [sic]!” and is accompanied by a picture of a Ku Klux Klan hood, a Pepe the frog wearing a Make America Great Again Hat, a white supremacist Identity Evropa logo, and the outline of President Trump’s hair, all with a red slash through it.
Additionally, Justice4Fernando posted a petition demanding that the university “stand in solidarity with our Professor and colleague Fernando Cortes Chirino.” The petition also condemned “white supremacist news media” for “inciting violent threats and ongoing harassment against Dr. Chirino and the UC-Merced community.”
“We reject any effort to silence Dr. Chirino for speaking against white supremacy,” the petition continues, and declares that Dr. Chirino had been “[speaking] movingly about ongoing struggles for justice, dignity, respect and the importance of solidarity.”
The petition claims that Campus Reform, Ben Shapiro’s The Daily Wire, and similar outlets have “incited alt-right and white supremacist followers to attack him via email and phone messages with racist speech and vicious and intimidating attacks.”
Finally, the petition makes several demands of UC-Merced, including that the school “take no punitive action” against Chirino, that “students have a say in the faculty that the university chooses to hire or fire,” and that the university “consider hiring Dr. Chirino as an Assistant Professor in Sociology.”
Other demands include that the university “actively denounces hate speech, and speakers that promote harassment,” allocate more resources for “social justice programming,” and “demilitarizes our campus, including disclosures of campus police weaponization.”
Others took to Twitter to support Chirino.
“The fact that the UC is willing to jeopardize the safety and freedom of their Primarily POC student body to let a racist, fascist come to campus & speak against these students AND try to fire a professor who is protecting us students is beyond me,” one self-identified student tweeted.
Campus Reform reached out to Justice4Fernando and the UC-Merced administration, but did not receive a response from either in time for publication.
Follow the author of this article on Twitter: @rMitchellGunter