Prof seeks 'solidarity' in fight with 'right-wing activists'
Syracuse University professor Dana Cloud is soliciting support through an online petition after receiving backlash for ominously tweeting a call to “finish...off” anti-Sharia protesters.
As originally reported by Campus Reform, Cloud expressed her objections to the “fascists” who were demonstrating against Sharia Law earlier this month by posting a tweet urging “Syracuse people” to “come down to the federal building to finish them off.”
"It is no accident that I am a socialist, lesbian, and...activist against oppression and social justice."
Cloud’s tweet generated widespread outrage, even earning opprobrium from the likes of Gavin McInnes and Ann Coulter, prompting her to respond to Twitter comments by insisting that her original comment was “not literal, people.”
Separately, in a message soliciting support from colleagues, she explained that the tweet was meant to be “a call for larger numbers to come join the counter-protest against the ‘Anti-Sharia Law’ rally,” adding that the anti-Sharia protesters had already begun to dissipate by the time she made the fateful post.
She also disputed Campus Reform’s characterization of the phrase “finish them off” as “a veiled call for violence,” albeit without offering an alternative interpretation, before declaring that “right-wing activists” had chosen to target her for a “witch-hunt” based on her political views.
“It is no accident that I am a socialist, lesbian, and decades-long activist against oppression and social justice,” she wrote.
“The hate-mail and threats directed at me are not isolated phenomena,” but rather a “campaign of intimidation and harassment against those standing in solidarity with Muslims and other oppressed groups,” Cloud continued. “Professors who speak out against racism and bigotry around the country are being targeted by right-wing media and activists.”
In support of that claim, she cited the examples of Drexel University Professor George Ciccariello-Maher, who had tweeted that “all I want for Christmas is white genocide,” and Princeton University Professor Keeanga-Yamahtta Taylor, who used her recent commencement address at Hampshire College to condemn President as a “racist, sexist megalomaniac.”
At the suggestion of the American Association of University Professors (AAUP), which has a page on its website devoted to “Resisting the Harassment of Faculty,” Cloud also converted her letter into an online petition for students and faculty members to sign.
“By signing the petition, you would not only honor and defend me, but would also stand up against Right-wing attempts to silence left intellectuals in this troubling time,” she implored colleagues, urging them to circulate the petition more widely as they see fit.
As of press time, the petition had garnered more than 1,000 signatures from students and professors at schools across the country, including a significant number from within the Syracuse community.
“We call on others to stand in unity and solidarity with all those, like Dr. Cloud, who are being harassed and threatened by right-wing pressure groups for speaking out against Islamophobia and bigotry,” the petition concludes. “We demand that Syracuse University and the broader academic community defend and protect her and all faculty in the exercise of their academic freedom, their right to extramural speech, and the exercise of their conscience in civic life.”
Campus Reform reached out to Cloud to discuss the petition further, but did not receive a response.
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