Open Statement of Solidarity in Support of Professor George Ciccariello-Maher

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George Ciccariello-Maher received national attention after he tweeted, "All I want for Christmas is White Genocide."


Open Statement of Solidarity in Support of Professor George Ciccariello-Maher was a statement[1] dated June 16, 2017 signed by academics in support of controversial comments made by George Ciccariello-Maher.

White Genocide Tweet

George Ciccariello-Maher tweet

On Christmas day 2016, George Ciccariello-Maher received national attention after he tweeted, "All I want for Christmas is White Genocide." He also tweeted in support of the Haitian revolution of 1804, which resulted in the deaths thousands of white men, women and children.[2]

Drexel University condemned the tweet, prompting to respond in part: :“White supremacy is on the rise, and we must fight it by any means. In that fight, universities will need to choose whether they are on the side of free expression and academic debate, or on the side of the racist mob.”

Text of Letter

"To the Drexel University Provost’s Office, President’s Office, and Faculty Senate:
"As supporters of academic freedom and free speech, we stand in solidarity with Drexel University Professor George Ciccariello-Maher against the orchestrated pressure campaign targeting him for antiracist and anti-imperial statements published on his personal social media accounts. We write to express strong disagreement with Provost M. Brian Blake’s recent decision to convene a “special committee of inquiry” to investigate a member of the Drexel faculty.
"Despite the provost previously recognizing Professor Ciccariello-Maher’s statements as “protected speech,” he is now convening an investigation that represents a serious breach of university governance norms. The inquiry contravenes core guidelines for faculty evaluation procedures as defined by the Association of American Colleges and the American Association of University Professors. It likewise skirts the standard procedures of Drexel’s Faculty Senate—the university’s primary vehicle of faculty governance. Instead, members of the committee, many of whom are self-appointed, purport to evaluate whether Professor Ciccariello-Maher has violated Drexel’s Code of Conduct—a policy that does not lay out procedures to make judgment on a faculty member’s extramural speech.
"Whether intentionally or not, the provost’s investigation aligns with current efforts to undermine the protections of academic freedom, long-practiced norms of faculty governance, and the ability for faculty to engage in political speech without being subjected to vicious online harassment and threats of employer retaliation. In recent months, faculty at colleges and universities across the United States have been targeted by similar campaigns designed to trigger public outcry and formal institutional censure. It is extremely disturbing that threats and intimidation tactics originating within far-right online spaces have found purchase among college and university administrators.
"Putting aside the question of whether one is sympathetic to Ciccariello-Maher’s views, we fully support his right to speak out in a public forum, especially on topics relevant to his scholarly expertise. Without recourse to the procedural protections of the Charter of Faculty Governance and its Bylaws, or the standards of evaluation of faculty research and teaching long established by the AAUP, the provost’s special committee sends the disturbing message to Drexel faculty engaged in the public sphere that their conduct is now subject to murky administrative oversight. The investigation thus casts a pall over Drexel faculty’s continued exercise of academic freedom as they pursue research and teaching—an untenable situation for any academic institution.
"We call on Drexel University President John Fry and Provost Blake to immediately halt this ill-conceived, retaliatory investigation. The stakes are clear, and we must stand united in defense of widely accepted professional norms, like academic freedom and transparent university governance procedures, which are currently under threat from orchestrated right-wing pressure campaigns."

Signatories

External links

References