This column by ACRU Policy Board member J. Christian Adams was published May 3, 2016 by PJ Media.
A group of undergraduate professors at George Mason University are leading the charge to oppose renaming the law school after late Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia.
A public Virginia university, GMU received a $30,000,000 pledge to rename the law school. However, the George Mason Faculty Senate — which is not a law school body — passed a resolution opposing the name change. The reasons the GMU faculty senate opposed the well-funded name change included the following:
The memorializing of a Supreme Court Justice who was a significant contributor to the polarized climate in this country that runs counter to the values of a university that celebrates civil discourse.
Instead of accepting and utilizing the massive donation to enhance legal education at George Mason, the Faculty Senate charted an alternative course. They seek to:
… emphasize the university’s continuing support for groups that were slighted by Justice Scalia and that may have been offended by the university’s embrace of his legacy. Underscore the university’s support for civil discourse that bridges the great diversity present at the university.
Nobody should be surprised that professors on campus lack ideological diversity. However, when the leftist radicals in these taxpayer-funded jobs scold the rest of the country about how supposedly rigid and polarizing Justice Scalia was, it’s worth us taking a peek to see if they happen to have actual records of polarization and ideological rigidity.
Who are the professors at George Mason University leading the charge to brand Justice Scalia as a divisive figure far outside of the mainstream?
Well, it turns out that many of them are divisive figures themselves, teaching subjects far outside of the mainstream thanks to the largess of Virginia taxpayers. Let’s meet just a few:
The opposition to honoring Scalia has been led by Craig Willse, a cultural studies professor whose work focuses on “neoliberalism, urbanism, biopolitics, and racial formations.”
According to Willse’s university bio, his scholarship “is informed by his political work outside the academy,” which has included “community organizing around housing access, social movements for trans justice and prison abolition, and queer anarchist anti-war activism.”
Willse is also the faculty adviser to GMU Students Against Israeli Apartheid.
This group supports the boycott, divestment, and sanctions movement against Israel. In that role, Willse led the No Honor in Apartheid Campaign, which organized a walkout during the commencement speech given by Jewish businesswoman and philanthropist Shari Arison.
Willse believes naming the law school after Scalia is “so egregious,” calling the jurist “racist” and “homophobic.”
Dr. Rebecca Walter
Walter is the associate director for the “Office of Diversity, Inclusion and Multicultural Education” at George Mason. According to her university bio, her scholarly interests include whiteness, critical race theory, and queer and feminist theories.
In 2010, Walters was a presenter at a “white privilege” conference. While her remarks could not be located online, some insight into her views can be found on her Facebook page, where she has posted a photo which exclaims: “Show up against White Terror.”
For her Facebook profile photo, Walter has chosen a graphic that reads: “Capitalism is not in crisis. Capitalism is the crisis.”
Lancaster is a professor in GMU’s College of Humanities and Social Sciences. His research “tries to understand how sexual mores, racial hierarchies, and class predicaments interact in a volatile world.”
His latest book, Sex Panic and the Punitive State, focuses on sex offenders and the laws which govern them. In an interview with the Washington Post, Lancaster argues that our treatment of sex offenders is “grossly unjust.”
He believes sex-offender registries “stoke unnecessary parental anxieties,” which can harm children.
Lancaster opposes variants of “Jessica’s Law,” which prevent sex offenders from living or working near areas trafficked by children. Such laws, argues Lancaster, “uproot sex offenders and their families,” and should be rethought.
Chesler “is the director of the Film and Video Studies Program, associate professor in the Communication Department, and affiliated faculty in Women and Gender Studies and Film and Media Studies.” She is the producer of documentary Out in the Night, a documentary that explores self-defense of four black lesbians in New York City. She is also the creator of Period: The End of Menstruation, a film that explores the cultural and medical trends in suppression of menstrual periods.
Hattery, a women and gender studies professor, views the whole Scalia renaming controversy as a plot by “two White, heterosexual, upper-class men” who made their decision because of their “positions of power.”
Hattery lists her current (Virginia taxpayer supported) academic interest as:
Gender Based Violence in the family as well as in social institutions, including the military, prisons, the Catholic Church, fraternities and Sports. My research is grounded in intersectional theory, with an explicit focus on race, class, gender, and sexuality.
English professor Stefan Wheelock teaches literature with a racial lens. His biography says he places “particular emphasis on slave narrative autobiography, early black polemic, and their contributions to Atlantic political and intellectual currencies.”
Kirsch earned her doctorate in “Feminism and Psychoanalysis, Religious Studies, and Feminist Theory.” She was the “faculty advisor to the Feminist Ninjas” at GMU.
You can read her full CV here for more of the same — it would otherwise fill this entire page.
Kristien Zenkov, an education professor, lists his research interests as:
Literacy/English education, sociology of education, urban education and teacher education, social justice and education, visually-based research methods, teacher activism, school/university partnerships and Professional Development School.
His dissertation was titled “The Room Revolution: Using Public Art to Promote Democratic Literacy.” He has written extensively on “social justice” education and “alternative notions of quality for future city teachers.” You can read his action-packed CV here.
Sonya Douglass Horsford
Sonya Douglass Horsford is an education professor focused on the fundamental transformation of education, especially when it comes to racial issues. Horsford is knee-deep in critical race studies and focuses on the intersection of racial privilege and racial disadvantage. She teaches “Contemporary and Emerging Issues in Education Policy” which seeks to steer education by “identifying and analyzing factors that promote new initiatives in education policy agenda. Attention given to nontraditional sources of education policy initiatives.”
Her course on the “Achievement Gap” has “students research and analyze gaps in student achievement related to race and ethnicity, limited English proficiency, family background, gender, poverty, and ableism.”
Suzanne Scott Constantine
Constantine is a professor in the School of Integrative Studies. She uses a variety of contemporary art forms as well as popular culture to explore injustices related to race, gender, sexual orientation, and the planet.
According to her website, her workshop topics include “Gender in Pop Culture”, which explores the way “masculinity and femininity are constructed and the ways myths about men and women are perpetuated”; and “Whiteness and Privilege.” She says her teaching “explores ways in which the issues of racial discrimination for African Americans is being expanded to include Arab Americans, Latinos/Latinas, and all people of color.”
Ted Kinnaman is the taxpayer funded chair of the philosophy department. His research interests include early modern philosophy, especially Kant and British Empiricism.
According to his blog, he is a self-declared atheist and socialist who believes that “American abhorrence of sex underlies many of our social problems,” that the American military is “absurdly bloated” and is weakening our democracy, and that Moscow’s Metro system, a design that deliberately integrated Communist propaganda of control in its design, is a “modern miracle.”
This roster above barely scratches the surface of the radical, outside-the-American-mainstream teaching by the faculty at George Mason who are trying to sabotage renaming the law school for Justice Scalia.
You can read the rest of the names of the people who signed the petition — discover on your own the radical and divisive backgrounds of those opposed to the renaming of the school. Feel free to use the comments section below to crowdsource your discoveries.
After learning who is leading the charge, the better question isn’t whether GMU should rename the law school after Justice Scalia, but rather:
Why are Virginians paying these radicals to indoctrinate generations of graduates?
Interested Virginians might wish to contact the Virginia House Education Committee — including higher education subcommittee chair Jimmie Massie (here) — and the Senate Education Committee — including Chairman Stephen Newman (here) — to share your views on renaming the law school in honor of Justice Scalia.