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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

Stu Clark 6 months, 2 weeks 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.

1

estafel 6 months, 2 weeks 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."

0

Dan Eyler 6 months, 2 weeks 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?

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Joe Blackford II 6 months, 2 weeks ago

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

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fmrl 6 months, 2 weeks ago

Should "journalists" and university professors be some sort of protected class that is not accountable for what they say?

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patkindle 6 months, 2 weeks 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.

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fmrl 6 months, 2 weeks ago

"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."

BS! What makes them different from anyone else?

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kernal 6 months, 2 weeks 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.

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Larry Moss 6 months, 2 weeks ago

"While we take no position on the content of what he said

If you remove the "content" there would be no story to begin with....

Face it, this is a circle the wagon tactic to cover the Professors' buttocks. He made the mess and his fellow Professors are stepping it.

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Jimmm 6 months, 2 weeks 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.

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hbjayhawk 6 months, 2 weeks 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

5

integritycounts 6 months, 2 weeks 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.

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fiddleback 6 months, 2 weeks 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

3

Brendan Hansen 6 months, 2 weeks 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.

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Loren Butler 6 months, 2 weeks 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'?

6

eugunieum 6 months, 2 weeks 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.

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jadie 6 months, 2 weeks 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.

3

Ray Parker 6 months, 2 weeks ago

Nobody is taking away academic freedom. We just want to make it clear that we want no more hate speech on our state-supported campuses. And that voters will cut KU funding if Guth stays on the faculty.

0

stevieboy 6 months, 2 weeks 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..

4

Satirical 6 months, 2 weeks 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.

6

Liberty275 6 months, 2 weeks 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.

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fmrl 6 months, 2 weeks ago

The State of Kansas has a responsibility to provide adequate education, without indoctrination of its students. Professors have been getting away with their indoctrination for way too long. I include the anthropology department because I remember attempts back in 1977 to indoctrinate in a class I took.

0

fmrl 6 months, 2 weeks ago

I don't see why tenured professors should have any more rights than anybody else. Academic freedom? What does what he said have anything to do with his field, journalism? If he were to go on rant about Feinstein' plan to define journalists and exclude almost everybody I could understand it because that's related to his field but what he said had nothing to do with journalism and "academic freedom" should not mean license to say whatever you want without consequences.

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Timothy Eugene 6 months, 2 weeks ago

If he had made these comments about a minority group, (blacks, Muslims, gays, etc.) the very same people supporting him (including the very liberal author of this article) would be screaming for him to be fired and jailed. But see, it's "OK" to disparage or threaten conservative groups..... Oh, how the liberal double-standard reeks.....

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patkindle 6 months, 2 weeks 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,

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consumer1 6 months, 2 weeks ago

Isn't it interesting how, when conservative makes the same type of statement the liberal want blood. But, now the show is on the other foot and it is not a problem. Liberal double standard.

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Richard Heckler 6 months, 2 weeks 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.

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