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Tipsheet

College Professor Suspended, Referred to Police for His Advice to Those Protesting Conservative Speakers

An English professor at Wayne State University has been suspended and referred to police following comments he made in a social media post, likely referencing the Stanford Law School students who heckled a federal judge during a recent campus event. 

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“Although I do not advocate violating federal and state criminal codes, I think it is far more admirable to kill a racist, homophobic or transphobic speaker than it is to shout them down,” professor Steven Shaviro said on Facebook. 

“When right-wing groups invite such speakers to campus, it is precisely because they want to provoke an incident that discredits the left, and gives more publicity and validation to these reprehensible views than they could otherwise attain,” the post continued. “The protesters get blamed instead of the bigoted speaker: the university administration finds a perfect excuse to side publicly with the racists or phobes; the national and international press has a field day saying that bigots are the ones being oppressed, rather than the people those bigots actually hate being the victims of oppression.”

The professor goes on to praise Sholem Schwarzbard, a Russian Jewish revolutionary, who assassinated the former Ukrainian leader Symon Petliura in 1926. 

“The exemplary historical figure in this regard is Sholem Schwarzbard, who assassinated the anti-Semitic butcher Symon Petliura, rather than trying to shout him down,” Shaviro said. “Remember that Schwarzbard was acquitted by a jury, which found his action justified.”

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WSU’s president Roy Wilson announced the professor’s suspension on Monday.

“We have on many occasions defended the right of free speech guaranteed by the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, but we feel this post far exceeds the bounds of reasonable or protected speech. It is, at best, morally reprehensible and, at worst, criminal,” Wilson said. “We have referred this to law enforcement agencies for further review and investigation. Pending their review, we have suspended the professor with pay, effective immediately.”


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