Friday 15 March 2019

Activist Students Demand Sarah Lawrence College Punish a Conservative Professor for Expressing His Views

A group of activist students at Sarah Lawrence College calling themselves the Diaspora Coalition have released a long list of demands after occupying the campus's main administrative building for 24 hours.
One of these demands concerns Samuel Abrams, a tenured professor of politics. Abrams is conservative-leaning, and has complained about the ideological bias of leftist administrators in a New York Times op-ed. Last November, his office door was vandalized by unknown persons who wanted him to apologize to marginalized students and quit the college.
Now the Diaspora Coalition is demanding that Sarah Lawrence review Abrams' tenure. The review should be conducted by a panel consisting of members of—you guessed it—the Diaspora Coalition, as well as faculty members of color.
"In addition, the College must issue a statement condemning the harm that Abrams has caused to the college community, specifically queer, Black, and female students," the demands continue. The college must also apologize "for its refusal to protect marginalized students wounded by his op-ed and the ignorant dialogue that followed. Abrams must issue a public apology to the broader SLC community and cease to target Black people, queer people, and women."
At least 25 Sarah Lawrence professors stand by the demands, which include a variety of additional progressive goals, according to the campus' activist publication, The Phoenix.
The college did not respond to a request for comment. Abrams was underwhelmed by the college's previous statements regarding his free speech rights when his office door was vandalized, and is certainly not impressed now.
"The College had a chance to take the lead and serve as an national example in terms of how to have civil debates and disagreement and discuss facts and how they differ from opinions," Abrams told me via email. "Sadly, the school did not come out strongly on academic freedom and free speech and this behavior runs against the core values of the College itself."
Sarah Lawrence President Cristle Collins Judd has evidently agreed to meet with the demonstrators. One of their demands, of course, is that no action be taken to discipline them.

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