Tag Archives: Florida Atlantic University

Five Years Later: An Open Letter to the South Florida Sun-Sentinel

Editor’s Note: Five years ago MHB posted the letter from James Tracy to the Sun-Sentinel and accompanying statements republished below. The newspaper and its editor, Howard Saltz, played key roles in circulating fraudulent and deceptive reports and commentary on the Sandy Hook Elementary School massacre, Boston Marathon bombings, and subsequent mass casualty events, while Sun-Sentinel editorial staff took aim at FAU Professor James Tracy for analyzing such events on his personal blog, Memory Hole.

Saltz’s inflammatory articles targeting Tracy culminated in a December 11, 2015 opinion piece purportedly authored by Lenny and Veronique Pozner, parents of a Sandy Hook child victim, according to the incident’s official narrative.

Saltz was terminated by the Sun-Sentinel’s parent company, Tronc, in February 2018, just days after the major mass shooting event at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland Florida. During his seven year tenure at the paper Saltz frustrated Sentinel reporters for allegedly censoring important stories at the newspaper, with one critic calling him a “cancer on Florida journalism.”

On June 3, 2013 James Tracy sent a letter to Sun-Sentinel editor-in-chief Howard Saltz citing the paper’s repeated attacks on Tracy for publicly questioning government pronouncements and overall news coverage of the Sandy Hook massacre and Boston Marathon bombing. In a June 17 response to the letter Saltz maintains that the Sun-Sentinel’s remarks are defensible given its newsworthiness and under the tenets of free speech.

“Our news coverage has not judged the merits of your arguments,” Saltz contends. “It never will. We will report them, and let the chips fall where they may.”

Tracy’s article, “The Sandy Hook School Massacre: Unanswered Questions and Missing Information,” received wide circulation in alternative media outlets in late December, immediately prior to the Sentinel‘s string of stories and commentaries highlighting Tracy.

The letter is reprinted in its entirety below followed by excerpts from Saltz’s response.

James F. Tracy, PhD
Boca Raton, FL

June 3, 2013

Howard Saltz
Editor in Chief
South Florida Sun-Sentinel
500 East Broward Boulevard
Fort Lauderdale, Florida 33394

Sent Certified Mail: Return Receipt Requested

Dear Howard Saltz,

I am writing in reference to the numerous articles and opinion pieces published by the Sun-Sentinel regarding my public commentaries on the December 14, 201[2] Newtown massacre and the April 15, 2013 Boston Marathon bombing. Without seriously assessing what I have actually sought to argue, each of these pieces have almost without exception vigorously assailed my character and overall assessment of these public events while advocating for dismissal from my faculty post at Florida Atlantic University, implying or explicitly calling attention to my alleged moral or even mental incapacity to hold such a position. Taken as a whole, the uniformly negative nature of such articles and commentaries can be considered as nothing less than a concerted campaign against me and is arguably libelous.

The following are quotes from some of the news and opinion articles published by your newspaper since January 7, 2013:

“A communication professor known for conspiracy theories has stirred controversy at Florida Atlantic University … “ Mike Clary, “FAU Prof Stirs Controversy By Disputing Newtown Massacre,” January 7, 2013.*

“A tenured professor has to spout a lot of craziness before you can oust one … I find conspiracy theorists fascinating. They view the world through a permanent prism of distrust and paranoia. Maybe they were dropped on their head when they were babies, or it’s something in the genes.” Chan Lowe, “FAU Prof’s Sandy Hook Conspiracy Theory,” January 11, 2013.

“James Tracy still has a job at Florida Atlantic University, FAU media relations director Lisa Metcalf said Wednesday. But beyond that, she didn’t say much about Tracy, a tenured associate professor of communication who has brought much embarrassment to the university with his comments questioning the Sandy Hook Elementary massacre … I’m all for academic freedom, but there’s a not-so-fine line between critical thinking and crackpot lunacy. I sure am glad I’m not FAU president Mary Jane Saunders. I don’t know if I’d fire Tracy. Perhaps the best we can do is ignore him.” Michael Mayo, “FAU Takes Heat for Professor James Tracy’s Sandy Hook Comments,” January 24, 2013.*

“So score another one in the weird column for FAU … After taking a public relations hit last month with the wacky Internet musings of tenured communications professor James Tracy about the Sandy Hook Elementary massacre …” Michael Mayo, “FAU Stadium Deal with Prison Company is Odd Way to Feather Nest,” February 20, 2013.

“So far, 2013 has been a controversial year for the university. In January, associate professor James Tracy questioned on his personal blog whether the Sandy Hook massacre happened.” Scott Travis, “FAU Apologizes After Jesus Assignment Sparks Outrage,” March 25, 2013.*

“In January, after professor James Tracy made national news by suggesting the Sandy Hook Elementary massacre may have been staged, it took Saunders two days to release a statement saying his views were not shared by the university.” Sun-Sentinel Editorial Board, “More Missteps at FAU,” March 27, 2013.*

“Earlier this year, you had the public relations fiasco involving professor James Tracy, a tenured professor of communication who claimed that the Sandy Hook Elementary School shootings may not have happened, or didn’t happen as reported. The claim got national publicity, and not the good kind.” Gary Stein, “Does Stomp Jesus Show FAU Needs an Image Makeover?” March 27, 2013.*

“Unveil latest course offerings at school’s ‘edgy’ communications department: ‘Muhammad Cartoon Drawing 101,’ ‘Advanced Holocaust Denial,’ and ‘Professor James Tracy’s Lies, Damn Lies and Conspiracies.’” Michael Mayo, “How Low Can FAU Go?” March 27, 2013.

“ … professor James Tracy’s blog musings about the Sandy Hook massacre … “ Michael Mayo, “FAU President Says She’s ‘Totally Secure’ in Job,” April 3, 2013.

“ … FAU’s conspiracy theorist.” Scott Travis, “Controversial FAU Professor Questions Boston Bombing,” April 23, 2013.

“‘Our own FAU handbook says an employee may be terminated for questionable conduct, professional or personal,’ [FAU] trustee Robert Rubin said. ‘And what Professor Tracy said wasn’t?’ But making comments that are embarrassing to a university is not grounds to fire a tenured professor … “ Scott Travis, “Controversial FAU Professor Questions Boston Bombing,” April 23, 2013.

“Tracy’s Sandy Hook postings received nationwide attention and prompted FAU to issue him a formal reprimand.” Scott Travis, “Controversial FAU Professor Questions Boston Bombing,” April 23, 2013.*

“Florida Atlantic University professor James Tracy … obviously needs a hobby so he can stop coming up with crackpot theories.” Gary Stein, “Should the FAU Professor be Fired for Off-the-Wall Theories?” April 25, 2013.

“FAU Professor James Tracy offered his opinion on the recent events that occurred in Boston in the Sun Sentinel on April 24 … While the vast majority of our university professors tend to be to the left of the political spectrum, most of them try to minimize mixing their ideological views with their professional responsibilities. There are others however, who use their title and position to intimidate and coerce students who do not subscribe to their way of thinking.” Caren Besner, “Some Professors Trying to Force Views on Students,” May 7, 2013.

“Forget the Clowns, Send in the headlines! … James Tracy’s musings …” Michael Mayo, “More Questions at FAU,” May 8, 2013.

“And everyone got mad when tenured communications professor James Tracy started spouting conspiracy theories about the Sandy Hook Elementary massacre and Boston Marathon bombings on his personal blog.” Michael Mayo, “FAU President’s Resignation No Surprise,” May 15, 2013.

“It didn’t help that Saunders had to deal with a wacko professor who twice made national news for doubting the veracity of the massacres at Sandy Hook Elementary School and later, the Boston Marathon.” Sun-Sentinel Editorial Staff, “What’s Next for FAU, Given It’s President’s Resignation,” May 16, 2013.

“As president, [Mary Jane Saunders] could not be blamed for the antics of some of her faculty (conspiracy theories …), Chan Lowe, “FAU’s Saunders Resigns,” May 16, 2013.

*Note: The memoryholeblog.com site had existed since March 2012. The blog and I were thrust into the national news only after the Sun-Sentinel published its January 7, 2013 story, “FAU Prof Stirs Controversy by Disputing Newtown Massacre.” Thereafter the Sun-Sentinel repeatedly refers to the “controversy,” suggesting its spontaneity, even though the paper played a major role in initiating and perpetuating it.

Published Letters to the Editor

“But I was also dismayed because the Sun Sentinel chose to put the article on the front page, needlessly giving more attention to this nut-case than he deserves.” Richard Mangan, “Give FAU a Break,” April 28, 2013.

“FAU professor James Tracy certainly has to have his First Amendment rights protected. However, if the students are as rankled by his blogs as many of us are, just don’t register for any of his classes.” Mike Marcus, “Don’t Attend James Tracy’s Classes,” April 28, 2013.

“When will this insanity stop? FAU associate professor James Tracy should be fired immediately. A person with his kind of thoughts has no place teaching young adults. Who knows what a mentally disturbed person like Tracy could do in the future. Let us stop hiding behind tenure.” David Hofield, “Why Should Tracy’s Tenure Matter,” April 28, 2013.

As the above examples clearly indicate, the Sun-Sentinel has repeatedly attacked my person and character. Your paper and staff have on numerous occasions published material suggesting that I be relieved of my position. At no time, however, has your paper sought to seriously dispute what I have said or written concerning Sandy Hook or Boston, instead choosing to ride the tide of poorly informed public outrage it has played a major role in fomenting. Such conduct is not so much journalistic as it is political.

As noted above, the entire controversy regarding my analysis of Sandy Hook massacre news coverage can be traced to a January 7 story written by Sun-Sentinel senior reporter Mike Clary. Clary expressed his delight that the story was picked up nationally in a January 8, 2013 telephone conversation with me. He again drew attention to this a few days later in a follow-up piece. “A Monday story in the Sun Sentinel in which Tracy discussed his views went viral and touched off a firestorm of controversy,” Clary wrote. “While many callers and emailers defended or even applauded Tracy’s remarks, others, including current and former FAU students, said they found his theories outrageous and offensive.” Mike Clary, “FAU Prof Should Be Fired, Newtown Official Says,” January 10, 2013.

Thus much of the “controversy” the Sun-Sentinel repeatedly points to with the underlying suggestion that it is spontaneous can be traced to its initial story—a story that your staff clearly sought to make as sensationalistic as possible. On the evening of January 7 in a telephone discussion with Mr. Clary, your reporter forcefully and repeatedly pushed me to assert that the Sandy Hook Elementary School massacre was staged. He seemed irritated when I responded to his queries by remarking, “It’s a possibility,” or “The coverage suggests that it may have been.” My responses mirror the commentaries on my blog.

Further, in our initial telephone interview on the afternoon of January 7 Clary sought to question me under a false pretense—stating that he had been informed that the FAU administration was potentially initiating disciplinary action against me because of my blog. I have been told by one reliable party working within the FAU administration at the time that administrators knew nothing of my blog until Clary’s January 7 article was published and thereafter became a national story. Indeed, I was never spoken to by administrators about my blogging until January [18], [two] weeks after Clary’s initial story ran.

I have done a considerable degree of research on both the Newtown massacre and the Boston Marathon bombing. With the above in mind, and since the Sun-Sentinel is a newspaper with a skilled staff and a significant regional and national influence, I formally challenge you or any member of your editorial or reportorial staff to a public debate on the veracity of either Sandy Hook or the Boston Marathon events as related by government and law enforcement agencies, as well as in your newspaper and by the US press more broadly, versus the arguments that I have put forth.

I am sure you will agree that such a dialogue will be of special value since it will move us beyond tactless name calling and toward consideration of substantive evidence and analysis of events with major import. If you are confident enough in your particulars of how each of the events transpired, as suggested by the paper’s continued publication of such such serious and continual denunciations of my being and character, I am confident that you or your staff will be pleased to engage me in such an exchange.

If you agree to my challenge, arrangements for a suitable public forum and accommodations will be negotiated between your staff and me. If the Sun-Sentinel prevails in such a debate the public will be reassured of the paper’s devotion to truth, journalistic integrity, and the censures of me will be wholly justified. I will thereafter devote myself to further contemplating and learning from the flurry of disparaging coverage and remarks your staff and its regional broadcast peers have directed toward me and my person. If you are not successful in the exchange you will publicly apologize for the uniformly negative series of reports and commentaries your newspaper has published about me over the past five months.

Thank you for your consideration of the above. I look forward to your reply.

Sincerely,

James F. Tracy, PhD
561-___-____

On June 17 Mr. Saltz replied to the above correspondence via email, making the following points quoted verbatim here:

  • There is no concerted effort. Reporters and columnists are looking for stories, as they always do. And they’re finding stories in this situation.

  • Are the stories you cite legitimately newsworthy? I say yes. You’re a high-profile member of the community, in a position to influence others, espousing viewpoints that are unusual and perhaps inflammatory. That’s newsworthy, almost by definition.

  • You suggest in your letter that you may have been libeled. I am quite comfortable in my belief that the SunSentinel has not libeled you. We will therefore act accordingly.

  • The facts provided in the articles are, to the best of my knowledge, correct and true. If you believe there is an error of fact in our coverage, please feel free to tell me. You have not cited any in your letter.

  • The opinions expressed are within the bounds of fair comment. You advocate unusual theories; people will always challenge unusual theories and, perhaps unfortunately, some will be offensive in doing so. The people expressing these opinions are using the same free-speech right with which you espouse your views.

  • We would not engage in debate. That’s not what newspapers do. Your suggestion confuses our reporting of positions contrary to yours with taking positions contrary to yours. They are not the same thing.  If you engage in a public debate with someone else, we would report that. You could also express your views on the Newtown and Boston Marathon situations in an op-ed article; I would be happy to publish it.

Our news coverage has not judged the merits of your arguments. It never will. We will report them, and let the chips fall where they may.

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Palm Beach Post Court Reporter Admits to Bias in TracyvFAU Coverage

“Nobody Likes Tracy”

What Might Have Coverage Looked Like?

A source close to MemoryHoleBlog has informed us they contacted Palm Beach Post courts reporter Jane Musgrave via telephone following the December 2017 trial of TracyvFAU wherein FAU Professor James Tracy sued his former employer for civil rights violations. This individual asked the reporter why the Post‘s coverage was so egregiously biased against Tracy and favorable toward FAU.

“Well, nobody likes [Tracy],” Musgrave replied. “He got what he deserved” because “kids died.”

When the party pressed Musgrave on why the newspaper’s coverage included so many glaring omissions of important evidence and testimony–content that would have put Tracy in a more positive light–the reporter responded, “We weren’t allowed to report that,” and that at the end of the day the Post would never publish anything supportive of the plaintiff.

This conversation confirms what the TracyvFAU plaintiff and his legal team observed as both the Post and South Florida Sun-Sentinel‘s sensational and flagrantly misleading coverage throughout the trial and even after the jury verdict was rendered.

The story titles alone suggest the Post‘s clear bias, with the Post referring to Tracy as the “Sandy Hook denier.” In one “opinion piece” the newspaper even solicits an embellished defamatory account of Tracy’s teaching style from one of its salaried employees.

-“FAU Professor James Tracy Claims School Fired Him for Sandy Hook Rants,” Palm Beach Post, November 30, 2017

-“Ex-FAU Prof on Trial Tries To Downplay Attack on Sandy Hook Parents,” Palm Beach Post, December 1, 2017

-“Christie: Tracy-vs-FAU More about Arrogance Than Free Speech, Insubordination,” PalmBeachPost.com, December 5, 2017

-“What It Was Like in the Class of FAU’s Conspiracy-Spinning Professor,” Palm Beach Post, December 8, 2017

-“Claims against FAU by Sandy Hook Denier Headed To Federal Jury Monday,” Palm Beach Post, December 8, 2017

After lengthy litigation and a trial where a federal judge repeatedly defended FAU and its administrators from the bench, the Post continued to ignore crucial testimony given by Tracy’s colleagues that demonstrated just how haphazardly the university’s provosts and deans applied the “Outside Employment/Activities Policy,” and how Tracy was virtually the only employee required to submit an “Outside Employment Form” for his protected speech on a personal blog.

One must keep in mind that FAU is among South Florida’s largest employers, with thousands of taxpayer dollars to spend on largely ineffective advertising  in both newspapers. As one Post staffer explained to journalist and private investigator Jose Lambiet in 2017,

“Business people in the community are no fools. They know advertising in the Post no longer gets results. The news content is so weak that nobody’s reading. It’s like to trying to sell shit.”

Both the Post and Sun-Sentinel are so desperate to please this large advertiser that they are willing to effectively skew their coverage of one of the most significant First Amendment trials in recent history to fit what they perceive to be their readers’ prejudices–in fact, misconceptions that these papers and national news media played a major role in creating via slipshod if not fraudulent coverage of the December 2012 Newtown shooting. In this vein Musgrave is forced to function as an anti-journalist–one who documents an event then proceeds to deliberately deceive her readership.

More recently, Musgrave reported on US District Judge Robin L. Rosenberg’s decision to revisit her misguided Halloween day summary judgement ruling and deny the plaintiff a new trial, pointing to the judge’s “stinging rebuke of Tracy’s claim that the jury got it wrong …

“The central premise in (Tracy’s) motion for new trial is that the jury’s verdict was against the great weight of the evidence,” Rosenberg wrote in a 31-page ruling. “This contention is without merit. Instead, the court concludes that the great weight of the evidence at trial was in favor of (FAU).”

Musgrave’s reportage, probably at her editor’s behest, repeatedly emphasizes Rosenberg’s  ruling to deny the plaintiff a new trial.

Further, it is obvious that Musgrave never read Tracy’s Motions (here and here) since her slapdash piece attributes their authorship to Louis Leo IV, when in fact they were primarily authored and signed by co-counsel.

 

The Sun-Sentinel‘s brief story of Rosenberg’s ruling is (unsurprisingly) more reckless, as education reporter Marc Freeman fails to even mention the fact that the case is on its way to the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals.

At the end of the day the eight-hundred pound gorilla in TracyvFAU must necessarily be overlooked by the Palm Beach Post, who ultimately answer to its owners-in-abesntia, the politically liberal Cox family. James Tracy stands accused of calling out Democratic President Barack Obama’s administration of staging a mass shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary in order to institute more stringent gun control laws. In December 2015 Tracy was (falsely) accused of criminally harassing the ostensibly Jewish “Sandy Hook parents” while consorting with “holocaust deniers.” These inflammatory accusations ultimately led to his termination.

According to the Post itself, Judge Rosenberg’s ultra-wealthy “Palm Beach parents are both well-known Democratic donors.” Rosenberg was appointed to her federal judgeship by President Obama in 2014. Rosenberg’s spouse, former Palm Beach County state attorney Michael McAuliffe, is a career Democratic Party politician. It is no secret in South Florida that he has major congressional and quite possibly gubernatorial aspirations.

Such ambition requires maintaining the good graces of Democratic Party power brokers whose central political platform is celebrating Obama’s political “achievements” and stampeding the US public into enacting stricter gun control. If this isn’t enough McAuliffe’s law partner, Martin Reeder, is the Palm Beach Post‘s attorney. One can only ponder how thick the “firewall” is between the newspaper’s editorial room and the McAuliffe-Reeder firm.

Rosenberg is also a former board member of the radical Anti-Defamation League, the Zionist espionage and agit-prop organization that stands vehemently against extending free speech to all and believes that any Gentile who so much as sneezes the wrong way is “hateful” or “anti-semitic.” The ADL is typically so extreme that its mention often elicits embarrassed eye-rolls from many in the Jewish diaspora.

Despite these conflicts of interest Rosenberg apparently never considered recusing herself. She instead allowed the plaintiff to embark on a costly litigation process then slammed the door in his face with a comprehensive October 31, 2017 summary judgement order in favor of FAU. With the trial the court simply gave defendant FAU, with the assistance of its advertising clientele, full exoneration in the court of public opinion.

Imagine for a moment if Tracy was a progressive-left professor terminated from his tenured faculty position for blogging about “climate change,” the villainous President Trump, and the conspiracy theory that Trump allied with Russia to subvert the 2016 election process. One need only look at the many Facebook pages, Twitter accounts, and blogs of American academics that fit this very mold–some of whom work at Florida Atlantic and the state’s other publicly-funded universities. Imagine that the judge comes from a “well-known” Republican Party donor family and was appointed to the bench by Donald Trump.  Imagine the judge is married to a prominent Republican Party politician. Imagine the judge was Episcopalian and an active member of the National Rifle Association.

Then imagine just how different the Post‘s coverage of TracyvFAU would be?

 

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TracyvFAU: “A Very Dangerous Precedent”

By Louis Leo IV and James Fetzer

Attorney Louis Leo IV discusses James Tracy’s pending civil rights lawsuit against Florida Atlantic University with University of Minnesota Professor James Fetzer on GCN’s The Power Hour, Monday,  April 23, 2018. Leo is the lead attorney representing Tracy in the federal civil rights lawsuit against the South Florida-based public university.

The two examine Tracy’s unlawful firing by Florida Atlantic University, the corrupt and fraudulent trial defense conducted by FAU’s corporate attorneys (who received significant aid from the US District Court for the Southern District of Florida), and the implications for public employees’ right of free speech and association in the wake of the decision. Leo and Fetzer also discuss the circumstances that led to Tracy’s termination by FAU officials, which followed a smear campaign by cyber trolls and major news media seeking to defend the Sandy Hook event’s official narrative. 

One day after the interview was recorded, on April 24, US District Judge Robin L. Rosenberg issued a 31-page final order denying all post-trial motions, defending her October 31, 2017 summary judgement rulings in favor of FAU, and asserting that Plaintiff Tracy was provided with a fair trial in her courtroom. With the decisions the case now proceeds to the US 11th Circuit Court of Appeals.

For additional information on case and how you can assist in the process, please visit the James Tracy Legal Defense Fund.


Professor Jim Fetzer

James H. Fetzer: My guest for the second hour has distinguished himself by representing James Tracy, who is an Associate Professor of Communications and the Media at Florida Atlantic, who is seeking to protect the American people from an elaborate scam by investigating the aspects of Sandy Hook, in particular, Lenny Pozner’s claim to have a son, Noah, who died there.

James was a skeptic at the time, but he was exercising his diligence and responsibility on behalf of the public to ensure they weren’t take in by a scam which wound up looting the American people of somewhere between $27 and $130 million in donations in the false belief that there’d actually been a shooting massacre, and that these 20 children and six adults had died. Divided by the 26 families that were impersonating the survivors, they split and derived over a million bucks apiece.

I believe this is one of the reasons Lenny Pozner has been so ruthless in going after those of us that have been seeking to expose the truth. James Tracy turned out to be targeted, where Lenny published several articles in the South Florida newspapers, including the Jewish journal, Forward, the Sun-Sentinel and others. Tracy ended up losing his position over this. The university had a flimsy excuse, but none better to address the issues here than Louis Leo IV, who represented him. Louis has a website, peopleoverpolitics.org, and he has authored a brilliant overview of Tracy versus Florida Atlantic, titled, “Legalizing Pretext: How an American Public University Conspired to Beat the First Amendment.” Louis welcome to The Power Hour.

Louis Leo IV: Thanks for having me.

Fetzer: I’m just delighted. Perhaps you’d like to begin with a thumbnail overview of what happened here, and how this American university beat the First Amendment.

Attorney Louis Leo IV

Leo: Well, I can tell you there are a lot of moving parts in this case, but we’re still waiting for the court to rule on post-trial motions, which include a Motion for Judgement as a Matter of Law, as well as a Motion for a New Trial. And, we’re still trying to figure out exactly what happened. I guess you can say it’s been a long and disturbing ride through the legal system in this case.

Fetzer: I was just going to add that I too am a colleague, a collaborator, with James Tracy, and I was the head of his legal defense fund, and I believe in this man one-hundred-percent. In fact, I can’t imagine a less likely target for an action like this than James Tracy. He is so principled. He is so measured. He is so thoughtful. He is so intelligent. And he was actually undertaking at act of what’s technically known as super arrogation—going beyond the call of duty in an effort to determine the facts of the matter, and protect the American public from fraud.

Leo: Exactly.

Fetzer: They wound up being subjected to a theft by deception, by misrepresenting what had happened there. Lenny Pozner, Neil Heslin and others have defrauded the American people of a vast sum, and have gone on this stupefying campaign for gun control that’s completely one-hundred-percent the opposite of the interests of the American people. Louis, go right ahead.

Leo: I should start by saying that the reason Dr. Tracy lost in this trial is because of deception and fraud in the court, and it’s something that the court sanctioned, using the rules of evidence. This is outlined in our motion that the court made the grave error in excluding from trial evidence that showed just how blatant and pretextual the use of this policy was to terminate a tenured professorship.

Continue reading TracyvFAU: “A Very Dangerous Precedent”

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FAU Faculty Support Academic Freedom (Restrictions Apply)

By James F. Tracy

Are faculty at FAU and universities across America pristine embodiments of integrity and truth? Do they support a flourishing of scholarly perspectives, or are they political ideologues who carefully police their own ranks?

Flashback to Spring 2013: A liberal instructor and Democratic Party activist is under fire by conservative groups for a classroom exercise that at least one student claimed was offensive to his religious faith. He put in a kick and local media leapt on the event. After an outcry in the blogosphere FAU administrators responded apologetically to the student and public, stating instructors would never repeat such an experiment with students. Even Florida Republican Governor Rick Scott, ever the opportunist, responded by chiding FAU administrators.

This was the famous, “Stomp on Jesus” incident, where FAU instructor Deandre Poole, an African American, was carrying out an exercise published in a widely-circulated communication studies textbook that asked students to write the name “Jesus” on a piece of paper, then see if they could draw themselves to drop the paper to the ground and place their foot over it.

After the incident was called out by conservative groups and Poole received death threats there was an outpouring by progressive left faculty members, students and community members, who placed pressure on the administration to defend Poole by publicly demonstrating in defense of  “academic freedom.”

Continue reading FAU Faculty Support Academic Freedom (Restrictions Apply)

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James Tracy Returns to FAU

Plants Flag on Boca Raton Campus

The two articles linked below discuss former FAU Professor James Tracy’s lecture in FAU Political Science Professor Marshall DeRosa’s April 5, 2018 Issues in American Politics class. Tracy presented a roughly 75-minute presentation on “The CIA and the Media.” The discussion was based on information from 1970s Congressional hearings and subsequent historical treatments of the phenomenon, which Tracy argued continues to this day. The presentation was followed by about 50 minutes of addressing questions from students.

Continue reading James Tracy Returns to FAU

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