*Was my service last year on the department search committee “only political activity”? I didn’t ask the candidates who they voted for in the presidential election - like someone in my department did in a 2001 job search. How did they get away with that? Isn’t that illegal?
*Was my appearance on Fox News last April (to debate a Holocaust denier) “only political activity”? If so, does this mean conservatives are anti-anti-Semites while liberals are only anti-Semites?
*What about my appearance on Fox News to debate a genocidal racist? Was my freely expressed position on that issue also “only political activity?” Does that mean liberals are pro-genocide?
*When I speak on college campuses - arguing that liberals and conservatives alike should be respected in the court of public opinion - is that “only political activity”? Is it the liberal position that only liberals can speak? Doesn’t that prove my point?
At first glance, the one negative evaluation I cite seems like nothing more than petty departmental squabbling. But, of course, the implications are quite serious. For example, over the years my colleagues have reported activity in feminist and Marxist organizations as examples of “professional service.” Of course, no one has ever assigned a low score for these activities, despite their obvious political nature.
And, of course, this is not the first time I have been “written up” for my “political activities.” Last year, the interim chair in my department (now the former interim chair) wrote that my political activities were interfering with my teaching/ research/ service responsibilities.
Interestingly, the last of the “political activities” I engaged in before her negative write-up was a squabble with a Holocaust denying professor (mentioned previously) who also claimed that the Jews plotted 911 together with George W. Bush. To make matters worse, the interim chair was Jewish. There is something very wrong when Jews impede my fight against anti-Semitism.
But this year I have many reasons to be thankful. For example, my new chair has offered to expunge the “Only political activity” remark from my record. She concurs with my designation of the remark as unprofessional – it fact it was probably “only political.” She also understands the dangerous implications of allowing colleagues to punish one another for political activity, real or perceived.
Lately, I am learning that some leftists are fair-minded and strong enough to stand up for what is right, not just what is left. But others are bigoted and dumb enough to put it in writing.
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