A university professor in Michigan has been placed on leave after declaring it would be “more admirable” to kill guest speakers who hold “transphobic,” “racist,” and “homophobic” views than to just shout them down.
Steven Shaviro, who teaches film and media studies courses at Wayne State University, took to Facebook to express his thoughts about “free speech on campus,” claiming that he does not “advocate violating federal and state criminal codes.”
Nevertheless, the professor wrote that “right-wing speakers” deserve death because they are “precisely” invited by right-wing college groups with the intention to “provoke and incident that discredit the left” and give more publicity and validation to the “reprehensible views” they allegedly have.
“Protesters get blamed instead of the bigoted speaker; the university administration finds a perfect excuse to side publicly with the racists or phobes, [and] the international and national press has a field day saying that bigots are the ones being oppressed,” Shaviro continued.
To help make his point, Shaviro cited the assassination of Symon Petliura by Jewish anarchist Sholem Schwarzbard in 1926 in the aftermath of the Russian Civil War. A national hero of Ukraine, Petliura led an army that not only fought against the Bolsheviks but also killed tens of thousands of East European Jews in anti-Semitic pogroms.
“The exemplary historical figure in this is Sholem Schwarzbard, who assassinated the anti-Semitic butcher Simon Petliura, rather than trying to shout him down,” Shaviro wrote, apparently comparing critics of the radical left-wing race and sex ideologies to a war leader whose troops carried out deadly pogroms.
“Remember that Schwarzbard was acquitted by a jury, which found his action justified,” he wrote.
The Facebook post caught the attention of Wayne State administrators, who took action and suspended Shaviro on Monday.
“The post stated that rather than ‘shouting down’ those with whom we disagree, one would be justified to commit murder to silence them,” Wayne State President M. Roy Wilson said in a campus-wide message. “We have on many occasions defended the right of free speech guaranteed by the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, but we feel this post far exceeds the bounds of reasonable or protected speech.”
“It is, at best, morally reprehensible and, at worst, criminal,” he said, adding that the matter has been referred to law enforcement “for further review and investigation.”
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