Tenured conservative prof at Sarah Lawrence on thin ice after penning op-ed

by WorldTribune Staff, November 13, 2018

A conservative-leaning Sarah Lawrence College professor who, in a New York Times op-ed, criticized the college’s “politically lopsided” student events had his office door vandalized and received messages calling on him to be stripped of tenure and fired.

Sarah Lawrence College

In the op-ed, Samuel Abrams was critical of events hosted by the college’s Office of Student Affairs, including seminars on microaggressions, understanding white privilege, and “staying woke.”

The op-ed also included original research – a survey of 900 university administrators nationwide – which showed that liberal administrators outnumber conservatives 12 to 1 on U.S. college campuses.

“While considerable focus has been placed in recent decades on the impact of the ideological bent of college professors, when it comes to collegiate life – living in dorms, participating in extracurricular organizations – the ever growing ranks of administrators have the biggest influence on students and campus life across the country,” wrote Abrams.

After the op-ed was published, Abrams said he discovered intimidating messages on the door of his office and the door’s decorations, which had included pictures of his family, were torn down.

Reason.com reported earlier this month that Abrams had asked the college’s president, Cristle Collins Judd, to condemn the perpetrators’ actions and reiterate her support for free speech.

Abrams said Judd wound up sending out a tepid campus-wide email that mentioned the importance of free expression, but mostly stressed her “commitment to diversity and inclusive excellence.” When he spoke to Judd over the phone, Abrams said she accused him of “attacking” members of the community.

“She said I had created a hostile work environment,” Abrams said in an interview with Reason. “If [the op-ed] constitutes hate speech, then this is not a world that I want to be a part of.”

After the op-ed was published, Abrams said students and alumni called an emergency student senate meeting which produced a declaration calling for him to be stripped of tenure and dismissed from the college.

In her campus-wide email about the meeting, Judd wrote: “The Senate asked me to publicly affirm that Black Lives Matter, that LBGT+ Lives matter, and that Women’s Justice matters. I emphatically did.”

Hours after the op-ed was published by the New York Times, a sign posted in protest on Abrams’ office door read: “Our right to exist is not ‘ideological,’ asshole,” and was signed “transsexual fag.” Another flyer demanded that he apologize to residence life staff and the director of campus diversity, students of color, queer students, trans students, and other marginalized persons. Multiple messages instructed Abrams to “quit,” and one told him to “go teach somewhere else, maybe Charlottesville.”

Several of Abrams’ colleagues met with Judd to discuss the vandalism and express their view that such acts could not be tolerated, the Reason report said, adding that Judd agreed, but did not pledge to take any further actions.

These professors thought she seemed scared that the students might hold more protests, creating a public relations disaster, according to Abrams.


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