University departments endorse Campus Antifa Network

The Campus Anti-fascist Network (CAN) claims that it has been endorsed by at least five university departments and dozens of other organizations nationwide.

According to the official list of CAN endorsements touted on the group’s website, the sociology departments at Trinity University and the College of Mount Saint Vincent, the History Department of Occidental College, the Department of English at the University of Hawaii, and the Department of Cultural Studies at Claremont Graduate University have all declared their support for the Antifa network.

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The University of Hawaii’s English Department, however, was quietly removed from the list of organizational endorsers after Campus Reform reached out to every faculty member listed on the school’s website, and Trinity University says it has also asked CAN to remove its name from the list, asserting that the endorsement was included erroneously.

When asked whether department members “are aware of the endorsement, and if so, whether you approve of it,” only one University of Hawaii professor replied, telling Campus Reform that “we are, and I am.”

Other requests for comment from more than 100 faculty members at Trinity University, the College of Mount Saint Vincent, Occidental College, Claremont Graduate University, and the University of Hawaii remained unanswered after more than two weeks.

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Manfred Wendt, a student government senator at Trinity University, told Campus Reform that he is calling for “a formal investigation into Trinity’s Sociology department in order to determine how this decision came about,” as well as an immediate retraction of the endorsement.

Shortly after the publication of this article and Wendt’s remarks, Trinity University denied that any of its departments have endorsed CAN, speculating that the Antifa website may have been referring to another school that also bears the name "Trinity."

"We did not as a department endorse Campus Antifascist Network nor have we ever endorsed, to my knowledge, any other political organization," David Spener, Chair of Trinity's Department of Sociology and Anthropology, told Campus Reform. "That would require a department discussion and vote, which has never occurred. That said, I do not believe that there is anyone in our department who supports fascists or fascism, in the United States or elsewhere."

On Friday, a Trinity University spokesperson told Campus Reform that the university “asked CAN to take the listing down” while stressing that the incident is a case of “mistaken identity.”

Notably, CAN was originally organized by two activist professors in August, who envisioned it to be a “big tent” for “anyone committed to fighting fascism.”

According to its mission statement, CAN “looks to mass counter-mobilizations and broad-based coalitions as key to the fight” against fascism.

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“In addition to protests, we encourage the development of educational and political spaces on campuses for teach-ins, reading groups, workshops, and strategy sessions on the history of fascism in its many guises and how to combat it,” the website states.

Stanford University Professor David Palumbo-Liu, one of the founders of CAN, previously stressed that the group only supports “self-defense" on the part of "those who are being threatened by fascists.”

The University of Hawaii’s English Department chair did not immediately return Campus Reform’s request for an explanation as to why the department is no longer on the list.

UPDATE: Trinity College has confirmed in a statement to Campus Reform that its Sociology Department did, in fact, sign on as a whole to endorse CAN, but the Antifa group has yet to comment on the apparent clerical error.

[NOTE: This article has been revised since its initial publication to reflect that Trinity University has denied endorsing CAN, and has asked that its name be removed from the Antifa group's list of endorsers.]

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