Archive for Friday, September 27, 2013

Anthropology Department opposes leave for Guth

September 27, 2013

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The Anthropology Department at Kansas University issued a statement on Friday criticizing school officials for putting professor David W. Guth on leave after he posted a controversial tweet following the Navy Yard shooting in Washington, D.C., last week that left 13 dead.

Chairwoman Jane Gibson and 14 more professors signed the statement that said: "Administrative leave imposed by the University of Kansas violates Dr. Guth’s rights and has a chilling effect on academic freedom."

The statement went on: "While we take no position on the content of what he said, David Guth spoke as a private person and exercised his right to free speech that is protected by the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution and the Faculty Code of Rights, Responsibilities, and Conduct."

Guth, a journalism professor, posted a message on the social media site Twitter after the Navy Yard shooting saying that "The blood is on the hands of the #NRA. Next time, let it be YOUR sons and daughters. Shame on you. May God damn you.”

Many criticized Guth, saying he was wishing death on the children of NRA members. Guth said he wasn't advocating violence, but trying to make gun-rights advocates see mass shootings from the point of view of the victims' families.

Chancellor Bernadette Gray-Little has said that Guth was placed on indefinite leave last week to avoid disruption of his classes "and not because of the nature of the professor's comments, regardless of how controversial they may be."

At that time, Guth said he agreed to take administrative leave "in light of the abusive email threats I and others have received."

Some legislative leaders have called on Gray-Little to fire Guth and some have said if he isn't fired then they will not support funding of KU.

Earlier, most of the tenured faculty of the KU school of journalism school also issued a statement supporting Guth's First Amendment rights to free speech, even though they said they disagreed with his comment.

Comments

Richard Heckler 1 year, 6 months ago

"The Anthropology Department at Kansas University issued a statement on Friday criticizing school officials for putting professor David W. Guth on leave after he posted a controversial tweet following the Navy Yard shooting in Washington, D.C., last week that left 13 dead.

Chairwoman Jane Gibson and 14 more professors signed the statement that said: "Administrative leave imposed by the University of Kansas violates Dr. Guth’s rights and has a chilling effect on academic freedom."

The statement went on: "While we take no position on the content of what he said, David Guth spoke as a private person and exercised his right to free speech that is protected by the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution and the Faculty Code of Rights, Responsibilities, and Conduct."

Excellent response and thank you for supporting the rights of your colleague.

Meanwhile. "Some legislative leaders have called on Gray-Little to fire Guth and some have said if he isn't fired then they will not support funding of KU."

THIS IS CONDUCT that borders on extortion if not in fact extortion. These legislative people have offered up threats that would constitute a demand for resignations. This behavior is reprehensible. I demand your resignations effective immediately.

gl0ck0wn3r 1 year, 6 months ago

Thanks for cutting and pasting the article almost in its entirety. I needed to see it twice.

avarom 1 year, 5 months ago

Meanwhile. "Some legislative leaders have called on Gray-Little to fire Guth and some have said if he isn't fired then they will not support funding of KU."

I would stake a very large bet that legislative leader (sic) Virgil Peck is not one of them and also trying to keep a very, very low profile!! It is with great disparity and unfair treatment that legislative leaders would not support funding of KU and be acceptable of Virgil Peck's comments, and treat the two with indifference, that is great example of abuse of power and discrimination!

patkindle 1 year, 6 months ago

hopefully none of them will post an offensive childish rant under their own name on a social media site or they will be in the same boat ,' While we take no position on the content of what he said,

Liberty275 1 year, 6 months ago

I think it's nice that KU's Anthropology Department supports at least one constitutional right.

Chairwoman Jane Gibson. perhaps you could make a formal statement on behalf of the Anthropology Department at KU supporting all of our constitutional rights.

Or maybe you won't.

Fossick 1 year, 6 months ago

The Anthropology Department at Kansas University issued a statement on Friday criticizing school officials for denying faculty and students the right to carry their licensed, concealed weapons on campus following the Navy Yard shooting in Washington, D.C., last week that left 13 dead.

Ya, that'll be the day.

parrothead8 1 year, 6 months ago

Your right to bear arms isn't an unlimited pass to carry any weapon you choose wherever you want.

Fossick 1 year, 6 months ago

You must have missed the word 'licensed' in my prior comment, which in Kansas presumes that those who would carry have passed training standards and background checks; in fact, it presumes exactly what you're arguing. The right to defend oneself in Kansas is limited by law, though not necessarily by reason.

Now, while I apply the first amendment in the same way I apply the second - very literally, meaning that Professor Guth should receive exactly ZERO sanction from KU for his free speech - I wonder if you apply the second in the same way you apply the first.

So tell us: is your right to free speech an unlimited pass to speak whatever you want?

AnonymousBosch 1 year, 5 months ago

Actually, the right to free speech is not an unlimited pass to say whatever you want anywhere or any time. Yelling "Fire" in a crowded place and inciting panic when there is no fire, for instance, is not protected. So there are limits to free speech....

Brendan Hansen 1 year, 5 months ago

Furthermore, the right to free speech is protection from reprisal from the government, not a blanket protection against consequences for anything one might wish to say. If a grocery store clerk verbally abuses a customer and gets fired for it, is that a violation of their First Amendment rights? I don't think so...

Brendan Hansen 1 year, 5 months ago

You are absolutely correct, my apologies for being careless in the specificity of my comment. I should have more clearly stated that Guth should be protected from criminal prosecution for his comments, but that protection should not extend to his job. I also note that you avoided addressing the second part of my comment. I wonder why that might be...

Brad Hall 1 year, 5 months ago

Maybe that should apply to first amendment rights too?

Satirical 1 year, 5 months ago

I have no doubt the Anthropology Department would have done the same if a KU professor made comments similar to the Westboro Baptist Church, like "Thank God for Dead Soldiers, and God Hates Gays." (Eyes rolling)

Hate speech is hate speech whether it is directed at a historically discriminated group or not.

Frederic Gutknecht IV 1 year, 5 months ago

OOPS. Your warped imagination is showing...and sounding like "hate speech".

Liberty275 1 year, 5 months ago

i appreciate your sarcasm and believe that you see the same hypocrisy I do. The only thing, there really is no concept of hate speech in America. Speech that is vile and hateful is protected.

You might note, I am usually one of very few that will stand up for the rights of the phelps klan in the face of anyone that thinks their first amendment right to worship and speak as they see fit should be violated. I do that as an atheist that has nothing but contempt for their opinion of their god's opinion of homosexuals.

stevieboy 1 year, 5 months ago

he should be fired or if he had any backbone he would resign and go away.This has already affected revenue being given to ku..He is one step above Fred Phelps..

Armored_One 1 year, 5 months ago

Which means that your employer should be allowed to use anything you post on Facebook, or any other social media site, against you in regards to you keeping your job.

Take a tour through your social media activity, if you have any that is, before you answer that question.

texburgh 1 year, 5 months ago

He should not be fired nor should he be put on leave. This has nothing to do with KU's revenue stream except that politicians who do not believe in free speech rights - Wagle, Greg Smith, Brownback - might plan to make it an issue. KU, as an institution of higher learning, should stand up for the constitution and the constitutional rights of everyone on the left and right. If politicians punish KU for supporting constitutional rights, then so be it. Those politicians - who have sworn to uphold the constitution but refuse to do so - should be voted out of office. Greg Smith is a government teacher in Shawnee Mission. Perhaps the Shawnee Mission School Board should suspend him for vowing to vote against any appropriation for KU until Guth is fired and to refuse to suggest that college-bound high school students should consider KU. By doing so, does he not disrupt the learning process for current SM HS students and for KU students? Is that "teacher" behavior? Would you support firing Greg Smith for exercising his free speech rights?

jadie 1 year, 5 months ago

This is clearly more about free speech than about Guth. I think the Chancellor will be glad to know the faculty have her back when the investigation is complete and she can do what she would like to have done from the beginning: recognize the free speech rights of Guth. The real scandal here is those legislators who swear to uphold the Constitution but who then call for the head of an individual with whose free speech they disagree.

voevoda 1 year, 5 months ago

So, irtnog2001, you think that only speech that contains "reasonable thought," in your sole opinion, ought to enjoy the guarantees of the First Amendment? I fear by that standard, nearly everyone would be reduced to silence.

And that is why we have the First Amendment. And also why we accord both journalists and university professors special leeway. Both of those professions have as a core value the expression of the broadest range of opinions, including opinions that are controversial both in content and in the choice of words.

Armored_One 1 year, 5 months ago

What would you have posted if they had called for Guth to be fired instead of making the announcement that they did? Somehow, I get the feeling that you would have a much different opinion of the Anthropology Department at KU than you are stating in your current posted message.

Why shouldn't they be allowed to voice their collective support of Guth? Honest question, with no hidden agenda. I honestly would like to know why you think that they shouldn't be allowed to voice their stance? You are obviously entitled to voice yours, proverbially speaking, but somehow they shouldn't be.

If that isn't what you intended to say, then perhaps you should have chosen your words better.

Mark Currie 1 year, 5 months ago

I really don't like some guy like him asking God to damn me, or wish my children be killed. I lost a child & grandchild already. Yes, we are entitled to free speech, but we need to be prepared for the consequences this speech may bring.

Loren Butler 1 year, 5 months ago

the professor stated something to the effect that children of NRA members should be shot/murdered. in the words of D. Trump, "YOU'RE FIRED." can you say 'terroristic threat'?

Brendan Hansen 1 year, 5 months ago

"While we take no position on the content of what he said" What an asinine statement. As idiotic as his rant was, I fully support Guth's right to say what he did. However, his right to free speech does not extend to protecting his job. Many people have been fired for far less.

fiddleback 1 year, 5 months ago

What an idiotic dogpile--twits on top of a tweet. Posturing reactionaries screaming for his firing seemingly have no concept of the protections of tenure and due process, and the would-be free speech martyrs seemingly have no concept of safety precautions necessary when speech is nothing but inflammatory and violent retaliation has already been implied towards its author. An entire department of professors is now willing to join the latter group, proving their PhD's make them no less oblivious to the extreme circumstances, or the rising danger in recent years.

Annual Mass Shooting Casualties

Annual Mass Shooting Casualties by fiddleback

integritycounts 1 year, 5 months ago

Thanks Anthropology department for the reminding us of our rights. This poses an excellent opportunity for all 14 of you to seek other employment rather than working in this dreaded place.

hbjayhawk 1 year, 5 months ago

Maybe it's time for the Chancellor to initiate a committee to explore program discontinuance of the ANTHRO dept. The legislature should examine worthless programs and faculty. How can they defend their colleague. Academic freedom aside, this private comment has a chilling effect on the standards KU sets for its professional conduct by its prestigious personnel. I hope Guth is terminated and I hope all faculty are sent a message that weaving your personal moronic thoughts into the public realm will have consequences. Take your hate speech somewhere else. RCjH

Jimmm 1 year, 5 months ago

Hilarious to read the comments wanting Guth fired, saying "Yes, he has free speech rights, but he must be prepared for the consequences of his free speech." Such blather conflates two ideas. Of course we must face the reaction to our speech on controversial subjects: controversy. Take a strongly-held position that's unpopular among significant numbers of people, and you gotta deal with their strongly-held position. Welcome to America.

But some consequences are unconstitutional. Government's firing a state university faculty member for expressing -- however inartfully -- a passionate opinion is so far beyond the pale that it would never get past an appeals court, should this kerfuffle come to that. As Justice Harlan wrote in 1971, "...one man's vulgarity is another's lyric. Indeed, we think it is largely because governmental officials cannot make principled distinctions in this area that the Constitution leaves matters of taste and style so largely to the individual."

Since no reasonable person could believe that Guth's statement was an actual threat or incitement under the law, there's nothing left for KU to do but take him back. This makes it all the more disappointing that the faculty journalists caved and left defense of the First Amendment to anthropologists.

Jimmm 1 year, 5 months ago

eugenieum, if the Sons of Silence were running the University of Kansas, you might have a point.

kernal 1 year, 5 months ago

I'm sure the mutual decision for him to begin his sabbatical early had nothing to do with the threats against him, KU and the other David Guth, by nut cases from across the country after his tweet went viral. Nope, nothing at all. Given the circumstances, I think it was the safest solution for him and KU.

patkindle 1 year, 5 months ago

no reasonable person could believe that the rodeo clown in Missouri's stunt was an actual threat or incitement towards Obama under the law, but it got him fired anyway.

Jimmm 1 year, 5 months ago

Has the rodeo clown appealed his firing and ban? He would have a good case, I think, since the Missouri State Fair is a creature of the state government.

Joe Blackford II 1 year, 5 months ago

Catsap's comment has not been posted due to restrictions on rational thought & civil discourse in the shallow end of the gene pool.

Dan Eyler 1 year, 5 months ago

How many professors are there in the anthropology department? Seriously? I would suggest they retreat from the comment section and find something to do. 15 professors?

estafel 1 year, 5 months ago

I think Ruth's poor decision-making process has been displayed, and the action has exposed some vile moral allowances. I'm sure he's a decent anthropologist, but he's no good for the minds of a student body. Yes, he has a right to say whatever he wishes -- yet if when doing so, it shows him to be an unfit educator, then he should lose his paid ability to "educate."

Stu Clark 1 year, 5 months ago

I haven't seen a word on his tenure status. If he has tenure, I would think he would be immune from KU sanctions regardless of the constitutional issues.

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