DETROIT, Mich. (Michigan News Source)- Wayne State University English Professor, Steven Shaviro, had a few things to say on social media after the events at Stanford University when conservative Trump-appointed judge, Judge Kyle Duncan, was heckled and ended up leaving after being invited there by the student chapter of the Federalist Society. Shaviro’s social media post appears to be advocating murder instead of protesting in similar situations.
Judge Duncan, who serves on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit, had been met at Stanford University by about 100 protesters with signs and shouts of obscenities including a protester who said to him, “We hope your daughters get raped.”
Tirien Steinbach, Associate Dean for DEI (diversity, equity and inclusion) at the university participated in the protesting of Judge Duncan, taking over the microphone and speaking for over six minutes. One of the main complaints appeared to be the judge’s refusal to use a transgender sex offender’s preferred pronouns in a 2020 opinion.
In an op-ed in the Wall Street Journal, Judge Duncan said that when he arrived at the university, the walls were covered with posters denouncing him for crimes against women, gays, blacks and trans people. Judge Duncan was unable to give his speech due to the heckling. Before he left, he said, “I’m uncomfortable because this event is tearing at the fabric of this community that I care about and I’m here to support.”
In the op-ed, Judge Duncan said, “The most disturbing aspect of this shameful debacle is what it says at about the state of legal education. Stanford is an elite law school. The protesters showed not the foggiest grasp of the basic concepts of legal discourse: That one must meet reason with reason, not power. That jeering contempt is the opposite of persuasion. That the law protects the speaker from the mob, not the mob from the speaker. Worst of all, Ms. Steinbach’s remarks made clear she is proud that Stanford students are being taught this is the way law should be.”
After the Stanford incident happened, Wayne State University English Professor Steven Shaviro posted on social media, “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.”
He went on to write three more paragraphs on the matter discussing right-wing groups and how they are invited to colleges to provoke an incident that makes the left look bad. He laments the fact that the protesters get blamed instead of the “bigoted” speaker and complains that the university administrations have an excuse to side with the racists or “phobes” instead of the “victims of oppression.”
In his post, he also pointed out a historical figure named Sholem Schwarzbard who assassinated an anti-Semitic butcher named Symon Petliura rather than trying to shout him down. Shapiro posted “Remember that Schwarzbard was acquitted by a jury, which found his action justified.”
Because of his post, Shaviro was suspended by Wayne State University on Monday – with pay – and the matter has been referred to the police for further review and investigation. Shaviro has been contacted by multiple media outlets but hasn’t commented on the suspension yet.
University President Roy Wilson said in a statement, “This morning, I was made aware of a social media post by a Wayne State University professor in our Department of English. The post stated that rather than ‘shouting down’ those with whom we disagree, one would be justified to commit murder to silence them. We have on many occasions defended the right of free speech guaranteed by the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, but we feel this post far exceeds the bounds of reasonable or protected speech. It is, at best, morally reprehensible and, at worst, criminal.”