EXCLUSIVE: UPDATE: UNCW trustee emails chancellor calling for investigation into ‘Blow up Republicans’ FB post after reading 'Campus Reform' story
A Board of Trustees member at the University of North Carolina Wilmington is calling for an investigation into a professor who posted 'Blow Up Republicans.'
The board of trustees member told Campus Reform that the incident highlights the "double standard" of free speech at the university.
One University of North Carolina Wilmington Board of Trustees member is calling on the school’s chancellor to open a investigation into a professor who posted “Blow Up Republicans,” on Facebook.
Woody White, a Board of Trustees member for the University of North Carolina Wilmington, wrote an email obtained by Campus Reform to the Chancellor of UNCW, Jose V. Sartarelli, calling on him to open an investigation into Dan Johnson, a professor at the university who made the “Blow Up Republicans” Facebook post.
Campus Reform first reported on the Facebook post by Dan Johnson, who is an associate professor in the UNCW School of Health and Applied Human Sciences.
”Personnel privacy issues aside, if this is true and an employee suggested violence and death to fellow Americans, or anyone for that matter, it would be my view that any privacy issues held by the employee would be outweighed by the public interest involved and the greater concern for the welfare of any students or fellow faculty members that he is around,” White said in an email to Lanier.
White said in the email, pending an investigation, that simply deleting the post, which Johnson did, “is not an adequate remedy to squelch reasonable concern for public safety.”
”Put another way, if an investigation confirmed that this occurred, then the employee waived his right to privacy when the public threats of violence were posted. Deleting them - with no further action or explanation - is not an adequate remedy to squelch reasonable concern for public safety,” White wrote.
White told Campus Reform that if an investigation finds that Johnson did post “Blow Up Republicans,” he should be “held accountable” for what he said, but should not be fired.
”I certainly think one should be held accountable for what they say; i.e., maybe students choose to avoid his classes, or maybe the school should hire a notable conservative professor that could challenge (without violent language) his liberal orthodoxy. Maybe he should be referred to ‘sensitivity training,’ as that seems to be the conventional solution for conservatives when they are reprimanded,” White said. But if we believe in free speech and are going to protect it, then there should only be one standard. Intellectual integrity is important and as a commodity, is diminishing daily. When we have the chance to move the needle toward one standard, we should do so.”
White also said that UNCW and “nearly every other University across the nation” have a double standard when it comes to free speech.
”Free speech is tolerated – even celebrated – when it condemns conservative thought and speech. When it goes the other way, conservatives are shamed, cancelled and bullied. Our chancellor was recently censored by the faculty and student body because he said at a town hall last year ‘All lives matter.’ Will the faculty and students convene a tribunal to condemn Mr. Johnson, if it is determined that he said this?,” White said.
Andrea Monroe Weaver, the interim communications officer for UNCW, told Campus Reform that the professor “expressed deep remorse and deleted the post.”
”UNCW was made aware of a now-deleted social media post made by a UNCW faculty member on a personal platform. The university acted on the information in a timely and appropriate manner. The faculty member expressed deep remorse and deleted the post,” Weaver said. “Any hateful language by faculty, staff or students aimed at others is contrary to our university values and our commitment to an environment of respect and dignity. It is absolutely reprehensible. However, no matter how upsetting and distasteful such comments may be, they are expressions of free speech and protected by the First Amendment unless they represent a true threat. UNCW reviews any perceived threats that are brought to our attention. We have determined that the conduct and now-deleted post at issue do not contain any evidence of a true threat toward any members of our community.”
Follow the author of this article on Twitter: @asabes10