Update: On March 28, the professor was suspended with pay. In a public statement, Wayne University president claimed:
"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.
We have referred this to law enforcement agencies for further review and investigation. Pending their review, we have suspended the professor with pay, effective immediately."
A screenshot of a what appears to be a Facebook post by Steven Shaviro, a professor at Wayne State University, has been circulating online. It says:
"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 strenghtening the very bigots against whom the are protesting.
The exemplary historical figure in this regard is Sholem Schwarzbard, who assasinated 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."
The post no longer appears at professor Shaviro's facebook timeline.
Social media users have speculated that Shaviro's post came as a reaction to events in Auckland, New Zealand, where Kellie-Jay Keen Minshull has been shouted down and mobbed by counter-protesters at her Standing for Women rally.
Steven Shaviro is a Detroit, Michigan based DeRoy Professor of English at Wayne State University Department of English. According to his biography, he is the author of eleven books and has been awarded the Science Fiction and Technoculture Studies Book Award in 2017 for his book Discognition.
In his social media profiles, Shaviro describes himself as "stealth assasin from the clouds."
In the facebook post which claims it is "admirable to kill a (...) transphobic speaker," the author mentions a French case from 1927, in which a Jewish-Ukrainian Symon Schwartzbard killed a man allegedly "responsible for the massive 1919–1920 pogroms in Ukraine."
4W has reached out to Steven Shapiro for comment and will update the piece accordingly.
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