In the letter, the professors claimed that Hanlon's statement was "an attack on academic freedom" and that he simply reacted to "right-wing" propaganda. They also called on him to retract the statement, apologize to Bray, and to create a new set of procedures for when the President seeks to dissociate the institution from controversial statements from its faculty.
Mark Bray, who serves a Lecturer of History at the Ivy League institution, joined Chuck Todd on "Meet the Press" on August 20 effectively defending the fascistic far-left institution and its violent activities. Here is an excerpt from the conversation between Todd and Bray:
TODD: So Mark Bray, I’ll start with you. You seem to be a very small minority here who is defending the idea of violence considering that somebody died in Charlottesville. Why do you defend confronting in a violent way?
BRAY: Well, first I would contest the notion that I’m not that small of a minority. I think that a lot of people recognize that, when pushed, self-defense is a legitimate response to white supremacy and neo-Nazi violence. And you know we’ve tried ignoring neo-Nazi’s in the past. We’ve seen how that turned out in 20’s and 30’s and the lesson of history is you need to take it with the utmost seriousness before it's too late. We’ve seen the millions of deaths that have come from not taking it seriously enough. And we can see that really the way that white supremacy grows, the way that neo-Nazism grows is by becoming legitimate, becoming established, becoming every day family friendly, where khakis instead of hoods. And the way to stop that is what people did in Boston, what people did in Charlottesville. Pull the emergency break and say you can’t make this normal.
Bray also blatantly lied about Antifa's propensity to silence speech and claimed that its actions are meant to preserve free speech.
TODD: Some of the criticism of the Antifa movement, Mark, is that you’re actually against speech. That you want to shut down this speech and that borders on censorship.
BRAY: Well let’s be clear that Antifa are not calling on the government to censor anyone. In fact, they resist the notion of turning to the government or turning to the police who we've seen have been infiltrated by white supremacists who have been sympathetic to the court’s sort of return to the law and order notion of fascism. And so, the idea is the real enemies of free speech are fascist. We’ve seen that historically. We’ve seen that they’re the ones that if they have their way will shut down speech and it also differs in the sense that anti-fascists see this as a political struggle. They don’t see fascism as a difference of opinion or as kind of a different perspective to consider. Instead they see fascist as the enemy and I think that we need to come around to that notion considering there is no doubt what they’ve done historically.
The next day, in response to Bray's comments, President Hanlon issued the following statement:
Recent statements made by Lecturer in History Mark Bray supporting violent protest do not represent the views of Dartmouth. As an institution, we condemn anything but civil discourse in the exchange of opinions and ideas. Dartmouth embraces free speech and open inquiry in all matters, and all on our campus enjoy the freedom to speak, write, listen and debate in pursuit of better learning and understanding; however, the endorsement of violence in any form is contrary to Dartmouth values.
Hanlon's statement is benign in comparison to Bray's charged rhetoric; the professor effectively apologized for the violent acts of Antifa by calling them "self-defense." The problem with Bray's logic is that self-defense requires a physical act of aggression to justify any use of it. Most of the instances where Antifa feels compelled to "defend itself" is in the presence of individuals who simply display the antithesis of the organization's anarchist and Communist viewpoints, hiding beneath the mask of "anti-fascism." Simple words and the act of peaceable assembly do not constitute grounds for violence.
Instead of condemning Antifa's senseless violence, these professors at Dartmouth seem more interested in virtue-signaling issues of "academic freedom" to defend the indefensible.
It is true that academics do possess ample freedoms in their institutions to express their opinions and to share their areas of research. However, the issue is whether Bray crossed the line by encouraging additional far-left violence and Hanlon attempted to draw the line where he believed it was necessary to maintain Dartmouth College's standing as a beacon of liberalism in a world gone mad due to extremist factions from all sides.