Tag Archives: free speech

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.

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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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Thought Crimes of a Tenured Academic

Defamatory Campaign Unleashed As Prof Increasingly Questioned 9/11, “War on Terror”

This is the first of a two-part edition of Real Politik featuring Canadian Professor Anthony Hall, Dr. Kevin Barrett, and Jeremy Rothe-Kushel. The discussion focuses on the targeting of Hall by organized pro-Israeli pressure groups and mass media that led  University of Lethbridge administrators to suspend him from his tenured academic post.

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Dr. Hall is an accomplished scholar of political economy and globalization studies whose work centers on the history of indigenous North Americans. A faculty member at Lethbridge since the early 1990s.He has taken  courageous public stances on geopolitical issues including the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, 9/11 and the US-led “war on terror.”

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Sandy Hook Fraudster Lenny Pozner Targets MHB

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Lenny Pozner and Chabad Lubavitch Rabbi Yisrael Deren of Western and Southern New England on the Last Day of Hanukkhah, December 16, 2012

Sandy Hook copyright infringement warrior Lenny Pozner has over the past week taken aim at Memory Hole Blog’s new ISP BlueHost.com with a barrage of bogus copyright claims leveled at the site. BlueHost has in turn used such claims to pressure this blog’s editor to take down several images of “Noah Pozner,” all of which have been allowed to remain on MHB by BlueHost’s partner and former MHB host Automattic under “Fair Use” provisions. Such images have also already appeared throughout major media to report on and discuss the December 14, 2012 event–supporting the official narrative and thus in ways Sandy Hook event participants have found beneficial to their multi-million dollar fundraising industry.

BlueHost CEO James Grierson fancies himself an “open source and web technology advocate.” Yet in practice his company’s Legal Department is especially hostile toward his clients and the very notion of “Fair Use,” taking a no-prisoners policy on copyright infringement claims, even if they’re filed by dubious parties and entirely unexamined.

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B’NAI BRITH SMEAR CAMPAIGN AGAINST ANTHONY HALL REFLECTS WORSENING THREAT TO ACADEMIC FREEDOM

By Craig McKee
Truth and Shadows

anthony-hall
Hall on the campus of the University of Lethbridge shortly after learning of his suspension.

Over his long and impressive academic career, Professor Anthony Hall has helped us all better understand how crises can be manufactured to manipulate public perception of narratives that serve the interests of established power.

Now, he is the victim of one of those contrived crises.

In the latest of a growing list of glaring assaults on academic freedom, Hall has been suspended without pay from his tenured teaching position at the University of Lethbridge in Alberta, Canada where he has taught for 26 years. As the result of an obviously faked and planted Facebook post, he has become the focus of a smear campaign by the Jewish lobby group B’nai Brith Canada, which is accusing him of being an “anti-Semitic Holocaust denier.”

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When Blogging Makes You a Terrorist

James Tracy interviews Colorado-based filmmaker, educator and activist Danny Ledonne, a former media arts professor at Adams State University in ledonne-photo3Alamosa Colorado whose online exposés of his university’s managerial practices put him in the crosshairs of the school’s top administrators.

After the accomplished filmmaker was glossed over for a tenure-track position in the university’s communications department and subsequently terminated from his adjunct instructor position he made public records requests suggesting the school’s corrupt and non-transparent administrative practices. Ledonne began a blog to publish these, WatchingAdams.org, and encouraged other faculty to leak information that might prompt Adams State toward enacting reforms.

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Questioning an Official Story Is Not Hate Speech, It is Free Speech

False Flag Weekly News
No Lies Radio
October 7, 2016

Special Guest Today: Jeremy Rothe-Kushel

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The False Flag Weekly News anchored by Dr. Kevin Barrett and Prof. Tony Hall looks behind the headlines and main stream media stories to get at what’s really going on in the world. From violations of international law to initiating WWIII, you don’t want to miss what they and their guests have to say about the stories behind the stories. This weekly news show is broadcast live on YouTube and No Lies Radio every Friday morning 8am Pacific/11am Eastern.

Thousands watch the show every week and rely upon us to reveal the naked truth behind national and world events that the main stream media is covering up. We take a no holds bar investigative reporter attitude even in our coverage of controversial events such as 9/11, the Boston Bombing, Sandy Hook, the Ukraine, the Paris Charlie Hebdo event, ISIS, and the more recent Paris and San Bernadino attacks.

TODAY’S NEWS STORIES AND THEIR SOURCE LINKS

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