The Black Law Students Association and student chapter of the National Lawyers Guild at Cornell University Law School have intensified the campaign to end the teaching career of neoconservative Professor William Jacobsen.
The leftist duo accuses Jacobsen of the usual charge — racism — and is pushing for students to boycott the courses he teaches because he has criticized Black Lives Matter.
But Jacobsen says he isn’t the only target. Rather, the leftist phalanx is trying to crush dissent among students as well.
We Won’t Debate Him
The director of Cornell’s Securities Law Clinic, Jacoben has criticized BLM frequently at his popular blog, Legal Insurrection, and as The New American reported early this week, is under intense fire for challenging the BLM narrative.
Former students have waged an astro-turf e-mail campaign to get him fired, and some of his colleagues wrote a letter to the school newspaper that said opposing the narrative is unacceptable.
Liberal colleague Jonathan Turley, who teaches at George Washington University, defended Jacobsen in his column, writing that the “rising intolerance” of conservatives on campuses spells the “death of free speech” and the end of “our intellectual mission” in the academy.
But now, the Left has intensified its campaign with the BLSA-NLG e-mail attack, Jacobsen reported yesterday.
BLSA refused his offer to debate, and says future professors must be screened for ideological purity.
“Although the law school recently released a statement regarding Professor Jacobson and his blog, we further urge the administration to critically examine the views of the individuals they intend to employ,” the BLSA letter says:
Faculty members who challenge students to debate them on the motives of those fighting to preserve Black life are clearly more interested in amplifying their own agendas than engaging in thoughtful and reflective discourse. Professor Jacobson has claimed no expertise nor any specialized training on matters of race and racial justice, rendering any future discussions on the matter entirely unproductive. We are not interested in subjecting ourselves and our community members to dialogue that reinforces the false dichotomy of “right” versus “left” when it comes to our humanity.
BLSA will boycott Jacobsen’s securities law clinic, its missive says, because “thinly veiled racism under the guise of ‘intellectual diversity’ has no place in our law school.”
Meanwhile, NLG, which began its life as a communist front, is circulating an e-mail that backs the boycott.
“Prof. Jacobson has written a number of racist and inflammatory blog posts,” the leftist group claimed, and now says students should “refrain from taking his classes. While Jacobson has the right to write as he likes, the student body has the right to choose whether they are comfortable being instructed on the law by a person with these views.”
The Real Target
Of course, Jacobsen has not written anything “racist.”
“Open debate, having your views challenged in an environment that allows a give-and-take, and taking courses from professors with whom you might disagree politically, apparently is the latest thought crime,” he wrote at LI. “What are they afraid of from an open exchange of ideas?”
But “this is not about my writing on the issues, which they misrepresent and distort in the statement they plan on circulating,” Jacobsen wrote.
The law professor is only the proximate target of the leftist push to silence dissent, he rightly averred. Students will be intimidated and silenced:
With the slogan “Silence is Violence” being used at the law school, there will be enormous pressure for student groups to go along. Not to do so would be deemed an act of “violence.”
This is an attempt not just to scare students away from my course, but to scare students away from speaking their minds, and to create a faculty and student purity test.
I have received numerous emails from students telling me I have a lot of “quiet” support at the law school, but that students are afraid to speak out for fear of career-ending false accusations of racism. I deeply appreciate the expressions of support, and I understand why you cannot speak out. You don’t want to be subjected to the type of smear campaign to which I have been subjected.
Writing about Jacobsen last week, Turley assessed the campaign this way: “The message for other faculty ... is both clear and intimidating. Disagree with the BLM movement or the protests and you will be labeled a racist.”
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R. Cort Kirkwood is a long-time contributor to The New American and a former newspaper editor.