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Watch Your Words, Professor

The Case of Edward A. Ross

Editor’s Note: University professors in the United States today seldom engage in public speech that may even remotely threaten their employment. This is partly due to the fact that close to three-quarters of teaching faculty are non-tenured contract workers, and thus readily recognize their lack of tenure protections. Yet the many who have earned tenure regard it as more of a guaranteed sinecure than a guard against potential administrative retaliation for personal beliefs and/or public statements. 

In fact, the institution of tenure in American higher education is largely rooted in the controversy surrounding Stanford University’s dismissal of Professor Edward A. Ross in 1900 for his public speech. Ross was a highly-regarded economist, sociologist, and even an early mass media critic. Jane Stanford, widow of railroad magnate and university founder Leland Stanford, was disturbed by Professor Ross’ political views, evident in the popular faculty member’s enthusiastic public support of the Populist Party’s “free silver” platform of the 1890s, and his subsequent condemnation of “Chinese cheap labor.” Following these remarks Ms. Stanford successfully pressured university president David Starr Jordan to terminate Ross’ employment. 

The retaliatory firing of Ross became known as the “Ross case” and is historically recognized as a principal motivating factor in Professors John Dewey and Arthur O. Lovejoy’s founding of the American Association of University Professors that advocated for tenure across the US higher ed landscape.

As the following article from Stanford’s alumni publication (somewhat tepidly) chronicles,

At the time of her death in 1905, Mrs. Stanford was still associated with the Ross Affair. An obituary in the New York Times called it “the only serious cloud that ever lowered over Stanford University.”

By Brian Eule
Stanford
(January/February 2015)

In 1900, Jane Stanford forced out a respected faculty member. Was he a martyr to academic freedom or a racist gadfly who deserved what he got?

Department of Special Collections and University Archives (right); Image D-07548 Courtesy of the Royal BC Museum, BC Archives

ON A TUESDAY AFTERNOON in November 1900, Edward Alsworth Ross gathered several student reporters in his campus office. Ross, 33 years old and a Stanford economics professor of seven years, had joined the university just two years after its opening. He was a captivating sight, 6-foot-5 and nattily dressed in a suit that favored his athletic physique.

Ross was popular with students and esteemed in his field. David Starr Jordan, the university’s first president, had recruited him not once but twice. Plucked from Jordan’s former home at Cornell, Ross was emerging as a scholarly star. Now, his time at Stanford was coming to an abrupt end.

Ross held a lengthy written statement he had prepared for the San Francisco newspapers. He handed it to the students.

“Well, boys,” he said, “I’m fired.”

ONE HUNDRED AND FIFTEEN YEARS LATER, the reasons for Ross’s departure remain in dispute. The matter was precipitated by a series of public pronouncements Ross had made on political matters between 1896 and 1900, a practice that put him at odds with university co-founder Jane Stanford. Was he forced out because of his outspoken opinions or because he broke rules prohibiting partisan advocacy? What is not in dispute is that Mrs. Stanford insisted that Ross be sacked despite the vigorous objections of Jordan, who finally relented.

Ross’s dismissal drove a wedge between Stanford faculty and the administration and resulted in a spate of resignations by other professors. More broadly, it galvanized efforts to codify protection of academic freedom and indirectly led to the establishment of tenure. As it turned out, that hastily arranged press conference in Ross’s office was a seminal moment in the history of higher education.

LONG BEFORE HIS NAME became synonymous with academic freedom controversies, Edward Ross was an enigmatic figure. Born to a farmer and a schoolteacher in Illinois, and orphaned at age 10, he was taken in by neighbors on a nearby Iowa farm. His new family viewed him as a prodigy, praising him so extravagantly that some boys in the area thought him pampered.

More…

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The Death of Academic Freedom

Prof James Tracy Denied First Amendment Rights by Federal Court

By Vivian Lee*

Global Research
American Herald Tribune
JamesFetzer.Blogspot &
OffGuardian

On December 11, 2017, in a serious miscarriage of justice, a jury in West Palm Beach, Florida, ruled unanimously in favor of Florida Atlantic University and against former Media Studies Professor James Tracy, who was suing for reinstatement after his firing in 2016. The jury found that Tracy’s “controversial” articles on Memory Hole Blog were not a “motivating factor” in his firing, the only question they were required to consider. Of course, Tracy’s posts at “his conspiracy theory blog” were indeed the reason he was fired, but the jury was convinced otherwise by FAU’s legal team with assistance from the judge. The case centered around Tracy’s writings on the anomalies found in the reporting on the Sandy Hook “massacre” of December 14, 2012. His skepticism about the event was not to the liking of the university.

Palm Beach PostJames Tracy with his attorney Louis Leo IV arriving at federal court. Image: Palm Beach Post.

FAU maintained that Tracy was not fired from his tenured position because of his blog posts, but because he did not follow the “rules” set out by “his bosses” at the government-run institution. FAU attorney G. Joseph Curley insisted that Tracy was not denied his First Amendment rights, but that he simply did not follow university procedure. “Professor Tracy doesn’t follow the rules,” Curley told the jury. “They’re rules that everyone else follows. He doesn’t play by the rules.” FAU cast the case as one of a “belligerent,” rebellious,” and “nonconformist” employee being let go for “insubordination,” instead of that of a tenured professor exercising his right to free speech.[1]

Atty G Joseph Curley Palm Beach PostFAU attorney G. Joseph Curley: “I could not be happier for FAU.” Image: Palm Beach Post.

FAU’s current “rules” require that faculty submit forms listing “outside activities” to be vetted for administrative approval, whether the activities are compensated or not. Tracy and other professors at FAU had argued that the policy is vague and confusing, constituting a form of prior restraint forbidden by the First Amendment, and leading to a climate of “fear and uncertainty” among the faculty. Aside from the fact that “outside activities” can reach into all aspects of a professor’s life and therefore be difficult if not impossible to list, such activities must not be subject to bureaucratic approval. And certainly, no tenured professor can be fired for not filling out a form, even at Florida Atlantic University.[2]

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New York Truck Attack: A Hoax for Halloween

By Vivian Lee

Another day, another fake attack – this time a “vehicular” terror attack perpetrated by one Sayfullo Saipov, a native of Tashkent, Uzbekistan, who supposedly mowed down bicyclists and pedestrians in a rented Home Depot truck on a bike path in lower Manhattan on October 31, 2017. This “Halloween massacre” is billed as “the deadliest terror attack on New York City since September 11, 2001.”

Sayfullo Habibullaevic SaipovSayfullo Habibullaevic Saipov. Image: New York Daily News.

The crack team of investigators from the NYPD and FBI figured the whole thing out in a matter of hours, helped by evidence provided by Sayfullo himself: his alleged cries of “Allahu Akbar,” a note found on the ground with language associated with ISIS (“It will endure”), and the 90 videos and 3,800 images on his cell phone, which of course the FBI recovered. Or, uh, we seem to have TWO cell phones left at the scene by Saipov, according to some reports.

NPR truck frontThe rented Home Depot truck that Saipov allegedly used to mow down cyclists and pedestrians in New York, although there is no trace of blood anywhere on the vehicle. Image: NPR.

The cell-phone videos reportedly show ISIS fighters killing prisoners as well as instructions for making an “explosive device.” The images include shots of Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, the supposed leader of ISIS. Saipov is said to have been inspired by one video in which al-Baghdadi “questioned what Muslims in the United States and elsewhere were doing to respond to the killing of Muslims in Iraq.”

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English Translation of Udo Ulfkotte’s “Bought Journalists” Suppressed?

 By James F. Tracy

The English translation of German journalist Udo Ulfkotte’s best-selling book, Gekaufte Journalisten (Bought Journalists) appears to have been suppressed throughout North America and Europe.  On May 15, 2017 Next Revelation Press, an imprint of US-Canadian-based publisher Tayen Lane, released the English version of Bought Journalists, under the title, Journalists for Hire: How the CIA Buys the News.

Tayen Lane has since removed any reference to the title from its website. Correspondingly Amazon.com indicates the title is “currently unavailable,” with opportunities to purchase from independent sellers offering used copies for no less than $1309.09. The book’s subject matter and unexplained disappearance from the marketplace suggest how powerful forces are seeking to prevent its circulation.

Gekaufte Journalisten was almost completely ignored by mainstream German news media following its release in 2014. “No German mainstream journalist is allowed to report about [my] book,” Ulfkotte observed. “Otherwise he or she will be sacked. So we have a bestseller now that no German journalist is allowed to write or talk about.”{1]

Continue reading English Translation of Udo Ulfkotte’s “Bought Journalists” Suppressed?

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Lenny Pozner’s HONR Network: The Fine Art of Online Stalking and Harassment

Submitted by Tony Mead 
(Warning: Graphics contain strong language/profanity)

Since so many people are showing up on my Facebook page for the first time, not knowing the persecution that we’ve endured, I think it appropriate that I introduce you to the HONR Network.

The HONR Network was founded by Lenny Pozner to seek out, identify, stalk and harass anyone who investigates the suspicious and confusing facts surrounding the Sandy Hook incident. They are dedicated to investigating individuals’  backgrounds, places of employment, family and friends, and then attacking their targets by posting personal information, pictures and even contacting people’s employers with accusations of harassment.

Lenny Pozner and HONR Network elite members strategize
their next move: “Hope … we get his brother
in laws
number …”

cta1

Over the past 3 years, I have been continually stalked and harassed by this relentless, calculating, heartless group who seem to work round the clock, dedicating their lives to “debunking” any inconsistencies that we find and defending the idea that the Sandy Hook Massacre was a genuine tragedy.

Continue reading Lenny Pozner’s HONR Network: The Fine Art of Online Stalking and Harassment

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