EXCLUSIVE: Prof’s office door has Trump-Hitler photo, KKK painting Captain America
Adolf Hitler, Benito Mussolini, Joseph Stalin, and President Donald Trump all belong in the same group, according to a poster displayed on the office door of a North Dakota professor.
This poster and another featuring a Ku Klux Klan (KKK) member drawing Captain America, both shown in an image obtained exclusively by Campus Reform, appear on the office door of Dr. Harry Hoffman, a sociology professor at Minot State University.
“It makes people like me, people who are conservative, more scared to share their opinions,” Nathan Lee, a Minot State student, told Campus Reform. “I already try to stay apolitical when I go to school. I’m part of the [group of] people who are scared that my grades will be negatively affected if they [professors] know I’m a conservative.”
Lee said that many of his friends also believe there’s a left-wing bias at the school.
The student told Campus Reform that “if you’re going to hate on my conservative political beliefs that much, how am I going to be comfortable taking a class with you?”
Lee, a sophomore studying American Sign Language, said he first noticed Hoffman’s door decor Tuesday afternoon and immediately sent a message to Kevin Harmon, Minot State’s vice president of student affairs. Lee told Campus Reform that as of Thursday, the Trump-Hitler comparison still appeared on the professor's office door.
“I was just curious if this is something that meets the standards for a professor at Minot State University,” read Lee’s email to Harmon, a copy of which Campus Reform obtained.
In response, Lee was told by a different administrator, Assistant VP for Academic Affairs Erik Kana, that while he could submit a formal complaint, Kana “highly recommend[ed]” that Lee have a conversation with the professor who posted the display first.
“Dr. Hoffman is very approachable and engaging. Perhaps a conversation with him could be an opportunity to learn why the poster represents his view of our political landscape, as well as an opportunity for you to respectfully present your thoughts,” the administrator suggested.
Despite administration's reassurance that Hoffman, who likens Trump to Hitler, would be receptive to a conversation with a conservative, Lee expressed his doubts when asked by Campus Reform if it would be possible to engage the professor in a fair or balanced conversation.
“Given where [Hoffman’s] at, I don’t think it would be,” he said. “It would be very difficult for me to be like ‘hey, I don’t think he’s [Trump’s] literally Hitler or Stalin or Mao or Mussolini when he’s displaying it on his door.”
“That would be a very uncomfortable conversation, especially for me coming to him as a student…it would be very uneven,” Lee told Campus Reform. “I wish I could share my true opinion, but I can’t— it’s unfortunate, but it’s true.”
Lee pointed out how not one professor could be found to serve as an advisor to a College Republicans chapter when students attempted to establish one in previous years.
All three of the reviews on the sociology professor’s Rate My Professors page, where he has a 4.5 out of 5 rating, suggest that Hoffman solicits student opinion for course activities and exams, though none of the reviews indicate whether or not the professor penalizes students who present opinions in contrast to his own.
Campus Reform also spoke with North Dakota Republican state Sen. Oley Larsen about Hoffman's office door.
"It is interesting that [the] door says that [the office] is a safe space," Larsen told Campus Reform. "I'm not so sure it's a safe space for students that embrace the current [presidential] administration."
Hoffman is not the first professor to decide that Trump and Hitler are comparable leaders.
Earlier in 2019, a George Washington University psychiatrist compared Trump rallies to the ones Hitler used to hold in Germany. Not long after that, a University of Texas, Austin professor declared that “Trump is a Nazi. At this point, you are too if you still support him.”
Campus Reform reached out to Hoffman and Minot State for comment, but neither responded in time for publication.
Follow the author of this article on Twitter: @KyleHooten2