Friday, January 22, 2016

UC Merced Defends Controversial Professor

Hat tip The College Fix

UC Merced professor Ross Avilla stirred up a lot of controversy when he was recorded telling his class that 9-11 was the only case of terrorism in the US perpetrated by foreign terrorists and that most attacks in the US were carried out by conservative, religious white males. Now the university has come to Avilla's defense in the name of academic freedom.

Avilla's assertions are easily proved false. So what if a professor tells his students that the world is flat? Does UCM consider that to be legitimate academic inquiry? And what do those statements have to do with psychology, his field of study?

I for one have not called for this guy to be fired. On the other hand, I applaud the student involved and The College Fix for bringing light to this nonsense. Avilla has a right to his dopey opinions even if he chooses to bring them into the classroom and shove them down the throats of his students who thought they had registered for a psychology course. Those who disagree with his "facts" have the right to counter them.

And if the chancellor of UCM is so concerned about truthful inquiries, she could start by opening up the facts of the recent terror attack-yes, terror attack at UCM.


Siarlys Jenkins said...

Your argument would be more effective if you offered a short list of acts of terrorism perpetrated in the United States by foreigners.

Of course it depends on the parameters for "acts of terror committed in the United States."

Does the Boston Massacre count? Which side were the terrorists. (Consult John Adams's closing summation in the trial of the British soldiers).

John Brown's raid was certainly led my an American white male -- although not a right wing one by any definition, and assisted by several black men as well as several white men. But whether it was an act of terrorism depends on whether you ask William Lloyd Garrison or Henry Wise.

I believe all four American presidents killed in office were shot by white males. One of them I believe was a foreign immigrant, but he was a disappointed seeker of a political appointment.

A whole lot of lynchings, not to mention race riots and burnings of whole neighborhoods were indeed perpetrated by right wing white males.

There was a German squad landed by submarine during WW II with the intention of committing acts of terror, but they were rounded up before committing any. That might be a counter-point.

Were the Puerto Ricans who shot up congress in the 1950s foreigners or Americans? One was a woman, I guess none would be formally considered "white," although they were as light-skinneded as most.

Charles Whitman and Richard Speck were white males, but I'm not aware of any political affiliation.

Anyway, your argument would have been more effective if you offered some examples. So would the UC Merced professor's. Less fast and loose, more empirical substantiation, would improve discourse a great deal, no matter how broad the boundaries of academic freedom might be.

Gary Fouse said...

Do you follow the news, much or do you just read Fousesquawk? Going back centuries in history has no relevance. We are concerned with today. How many plots involving Muslim immigrants has the FBI thwarted? I would not even count Sirhan Sirhan because it goes back to 1968.

Siarlys Jenkins said...

One repartee I have no respect for is "Google it, the facts are out there." When you offer an argument, its your job to provide sufficient facts to back it up. How many plots involving Muslim immigrants HAS the FBI thwarted? Not many that I've read in the news, and not many that are luridly mentioned on Fousesquawk. There have been not a few that are perpetrated by home grown Americans.

Gary Fouse said...

There have been many all over the country. Do I have to research and list them all here? Some were born here, but the common thread is they were Muslims and acting out of jihad. The FBI has saved a lot of lives.

Siarlys Jenkins said...

If you want to make a case, yes, you need to list at least a few examples. "There have been many all over the country" doesn't cut it. Also, please clarify whether you are asserting that there have been few or none committed by native born "white" males?

Gary Fouse said...

"How many plots involving Muslim immigrants HAS the FBI thwarted?"

That was your question. Without researching through my extensive archives I can recall an arrest a couple of weeks ago in Texas and one concurrently in Sacramento. There was a group arrested a few years ago in Lodi. In Orange County, we have had two in the last couple of years guys trying to join ISIS.

Let's see. How about the guys arrested plotting to blow up Ft Dix? Wasn't there a Somali guy just arrested in Minnesota? How about the guy that wanted to blow up Wrigley Field?

As for actual attacks, we have 9-11, Boston marathon, Garland Texas, San Bernardino. (I am trying to exclude native born).

Foreign born or native born matters not so much. The common thread was motive-jihad.

That's just off the top of my head.

Gary Fouse said...


I got a new example-in Milwaukee, no less.

You are not a Mason, I hope.

Siarlys Jenkins said...

No, but I will defend Masons against the bigotry of European conservatives.