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CSU won’t stop offensive speech, writing

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POSTED May 31, 2012 11:28 p.m.

California State University professors and other employees cannot engage in “discriminatory behavior, bullying or harassment,” nor may they display “offensive conduct of an unwelcome nature...”

So says the Free Speech Handbook issued to every Cal State employee, faculty member and student.

But if you examine both the recent and long-term behavior of the university’s most notoriously racist and anti-Semitic professor, his work labeled both anti-Semitic and “white ethnocentric” years ago by the Academic Senate on his own campus, you have to wonder why CSU bothers with the handbook at all. For if there’s one thing Long Beach State psychology Prof. Kevin MacDonald does, it is indulge in “offensive conduct.” It is certainly unwelcome to many.

MacDonald, described on the website of the anti-racist Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) as “the neo-Nazi movement’s favorite academic,” has long preached that Jews are genetically programmed to destroy western civilization, no matter how many diseases they have thwarted, as vaccines developed by American Jewish scientists like Jonas Salk and Albert Sabin do polio and as the German-Jewish scientist Ernst Chain did with his furthering the development of penicillin, no matter how many seminal discoveries have been made by the likes of Albert Einstein and Sigmund Freud.

MacDonald two years ago also became a director of the American Third Party, described by the SPLC as a “racist political party,” whose own website says it aims to “represent the unique political interests of White Americans.” Wrote MacDonald about his joining the party, many of whose members are reportedly racist skinheads, “Since the Republican Party is incapable of saving itself by adopting policies that would keep America a majority-white country, the long-term solution is a third party representing the interests of White America.”

Most recently, MacDonald took to the airwaves on a talk show hosted by former Ku Klux Klan leader David Duke (appearing there at all would be considered offensive by many) to blast the unarmed Florida teenage shooting victim Trayvon Martin. “He’s got these, uh, gold-plated teeth, you know, these sort of bling they have, you know, which is a sort of marker of being involved in this sort of rap scene,” MacDonald told Duke’s audience. “It’s just complete deception to present him as this little angel.” Yet, there is little or no evidence other than his shooter’s word that the African-American Martin was the least bit threatening before he was shot.

This was classic racial stereotyping by MacDonald, not couched in the more refined academic language he employs when writing about Jews. But never mind whether it was “opprobrious, flagrant, insulting or defamatory,” types of speech prohibited by the Free Speech Handbook.

For even if it was, neither Long Beach State nor the overall Cal State system will do anything about it. That’s similar to the system’s stance on Cal State Northridge mathematics Prof. David Klein, who maintains a page on the college web server devoted not to math, but to calumnies against Israel (www.csun.edu /~vcmth00m/boycott.html). It’s laughable to believe that taxpayers who fund the Northridge server intend it to be a platform for one-sided political rhetoric from a faculty member specializing in mathematical physics, teacher education and standardized testing.

But the university insists. “We’re not able to discipline people for the content of their opinions,” said Mike Uhlenkamp, spokesman for the system, adding that faculty can put anything that’s not illegal on their state-funded blogs. “In MacDonald’s case, we could only look into this if he were speaking in some kind of official role. If he were to make those comments in his classes, we might be able to do more.”

But MacDonald is very careful to avoid such rhetoric in class. “I agreed to not teach about race differences in IQ, even though it is a standard topic for the course I teach, because of direct pressure from the university,” he said in a 2010 email exchange with this column. “Quite simply, I would not be able to teach the course at all if I continued to teach that topic.”

Meanwhile, Cal State will also do nothing about Klein. “He can post his opinions on his web page,” said Uhlenkamp. “We’re not in the mode of censoring.”

All of which raises the question of what it would take for any professor to get fired. It also raises questions about why Cal State bothers to include anything about unacceptable talk and behavior in its handbook at all, since it plainly has little or no intention of enforcing what’s there now.

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