Wayne State University professor Steven Shaviro has been suspended over a now-deleted Facebook post in which he suggested it was “more admirable” to kill conservative speakers than to engage with them.
In the post, Shaviro argued that protests and attempts to disrupt or shout down conservative speakers would only play into their hands and ultimately make the protesters look like the villains. Given that, he said that shouting down “bigots” would only strengthen them.
Hi @waynestate is this one of your professors publicly calling for murder ON CAMPUS of any speaker who has an opinion he disagrees with?
“I think it is far more admirable to kill” pic.twitter.com/5TjDACUuGl
— TheFamousArtistBirdyRose (@TheFamousArtBR) March 25, 2023
In the post, Shaviro wrote:
So here is what I think about free speech on campus. 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.
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 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.
In short, every time protestors shout down a racist or transphobic speaker, they are indulging their own moral sense of validity at the expense of actually strengthening the very bigots against whom they are protesting.
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. Remember that Schwarzbard was acquitted by a jury, which found his action justified.
Wayne State President M. Roy Wilson sent out a campus-wide email on Monday confirming that Shaviro had been suspended with pay and his Facebook post had been forwarded to law enforcement for further investigation.
“We have on many occasions defended the right of free speech, but we feel this post far exceeds the bounds of reasonable or protected speech,” Wilson explained.
Ph.D. candidate Shelby Cadwell, who has worked with Shaviro for several years, complained that the university was actually perpetuating the problem by suspending the professor. She went on to suggest that objections to his post amounted to anti-Semitic attacks directed at him.
“His social media post … was drawing attention to the very problem that Wayne State is ironically perpetuating by suspending him. The problem is that fascists use the ‘free speech’ values of universities to provoke and incite protest, sometimes even violence, and then automatically find themselves on the right side of the issue,” Cadwell argued. “The university administration’s kneejerk response to this targeted campaign against an elderly, Jewish, and utterly harmless human being is the truly morally reprehensible act.”
Shaviro’s post and suspension landed amid the still-unfolding situation involving appeals court Judge Kyle Duncan — whose Federalist Society-sponsored event at Stanford University Law School was interrupted by students and diversity Dean Tirien Steinbach — and the radical Left’s push to quash free speech on campus.