This is not one of those times.
At the University of Florida Levin College of Law, a law professor appears to have been the victim of a hate crime. Upon learning of the issue, the dean of the law school condemned the action in the strongest language possible and asked any student with knowledge of the events to come forward and inform the authorities.
It’s really the only appropriate response for a school to have in a situation like this…
Our sources report that an unnamed Florida Law professor had his car keyed while it was parked at the law school. The word “faggot” was allegedly etched into the side of his automobile. According to tipsters, the professor was overcome with emotion as he told his class about the event.
Florida Law Dean Robert Jerry responded quickly and strongly to these allegations in a message to all students. From Dean Jerry’s email:
What happened is a hate crime under both federal and state law. The conduct is disgusting and utterly repugnant. Speaking for everyone in the law school community, we condemn and deplore it.
This is not a question of free speech or the right to express an opinion. This behavior, which is personally threatening and destructive of property, is totally and completely outside the bounds of what is acceptable in a civilized society. It is absolutely unacceptable on a law school or university campus….
On a going forward basis, we need to understand that we are members of a law school community. As such, we have obligations as members not only of a campus community but also as present or future members of the legal profession. We have a special obligation to assist our society in dealing with injustice and unfair treatment of individuals. We have a special obligation to help create an environment that is safe and free from violence, harassment, and discrimination. But that is merely a foundation. We aspire to a community that is inclusive and welcoming to all; this incident is an anathema to the values of tolerance and inclusivity.
You can click through to the next page to read Dean Jerry’s full email.
Jerry’s clear message in response to this unfortunate situation is commendable and refreshing. This is not the kind of thing over which reasonable people can disagree; this is an act of vandalism and intimidation.
Of course, stepping back from the instant situation, it’s easy to stand against hate when somebody makes a public display of using a slur. Deans and law school communities should be equally outraged when the slander is more heavily veiled and carefully couched in the language of “academic debate.”
Hopefully we can expect administrations to recognize this kind of bigotry when it’s written into statutes instead of sedans.