As a conservative blog-owner, he’s used to being criticized. But Black Lives Matter criticism is another matter.
I am a clinical professor of law at Cornell Law School (CLS). In January 2008, I founded the Cornell Securities Law Clinic, focusing on investment disputes, a popular and important niche for students seeking to work in the corporate world.
In October 2008, I founded the Legal Insurrection, a conservative law and politics website. My non-left-wing politics, though separate from my teaching, sometimes led to attacks on my job. There were threats, harassment and demands I be fired for the first several years of the website, but those always came from off campus — until now.
That all changed when I wrote two blog posts the first week of June 2020, criticizing BLM as riots and looting spread around the country after the death of George Floyd. Now, I am facing cancel culture from within the law school.
What did he say?
In one blog post, I documented how the “Hands up! Don’t shoot!” founding narrative of BLM was fabricated after the shooting of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Mo., in 2014. Even the Obama Justice Department found that Brown was shot after attacking a police officer, and did not have his hands raised in surrender or say, “Don’t shoot.” Yet to this day, I pointed out, BLM protesters chant, “Hands up! Don’t shoot!”
I wrote a second blog post harshly criticizing the riots and looting. I argued that such violence reflected a movement “led by anti-American, anti-capitalist activists … [who] have concocted a false narrative of mass murder of Blacks at the hands of police, when the statistics show otherwise.” I called on the federal government to track down “people who helped coordinate the violence.”
Agreement is not what he expects. The air is poisoned beyond that.
The response was a paradigm of cancel culture. There was a coordinated email and petition campaign by alumni to get me fired. [Fired!]
A group of 21 of my colleagues in the clinical program [colleagues!] then denounced me in a letter to the Cornell Daily Sun student newspaper. While my name was not used in the letter, it was shared with students in advance of publication as a denunciation of me. The letter falsely accused me of supporting “institutionalized racism and violence” and threatened to “continue to expose and respond to racism masquerading as informed commentary.”
Taking no prisoners.
Not one of the 21 signatories, some of whom had been my colleagues for more than a decade and I considered friends, [friends!] approached me with any concerns before running to the school newspaper and sharing their letter with students. It was reminiscent of so many revolutionary movements, where friends and neighbors rush to denounce each other.
The dean of CLS also denounced me in an institutional statement that promised no adverse employment action because of my academic freedom and job security, but gratuitously found that my writings “do not reflect the values of Cornell Law School” as the dean has “articulated them.” The administration never gave me an opportunity to be heard on that damaging accusation, much less a process to challenge it. That statement serves as a warning to unprotected faculty, staff and students who may disagree with BLM to keep their views to themselves.
Totalitarian mentality. Students jumped in, of course, smelling a conquest.
I offered to publicly debate a student representative and a faculty member of their choice, but that offer was rejected. They don’t want to criticize me. They want to silence criticism of BLM.
“quiet” support among students, but that they are afraid to speak up for fear of the professional or social consequences. Cancel culture has created this atmosphere of fear and intimidation.
The world we are living in, for now at least.