Eternal Vigilance Is The Price of Tenure
TO: SINCLAIR COMMUNITY COLLEGE FACULTY, STAFF, AND SECURITY OFFICERS
RE: SCC POLICY AGAINST AGITATION AND USE OF WEAPONS ON CAMPUS
Dear Sinclair Community College team,
No doubt you have heard that Sinclair Community College is under assault by an extremist outside agitation group known as FIRE. The very name of this organization suggests — and inflicts — lawlessness and violence.
This disruptive FIRE group has been given aid and comfort by certain dissident, potentially violent, and questionably stable Sinclair students. Somebody is going to have THEIR accounts checked very carefully at the bursar, let me tell you, and there is going to be some VERY pointed sharing at Resident Education Circle Learning Time. These for-now students have filed suit against Sinclair, aided and abetted by fundamentalist jihadists at the Thomas More Society, which openly supports views in direct contravention to our Community Differences Statement.
As difficult as it is to believe, these students and outside agitator groups — dangerous religious extremists all of them — oppose my efforts to keep you, the Sinclair Community, safe. In the interests of good order, harmonious discourse, correct thinking, and public safety, we have enacted reasonable and prudent restrictions on certain campus activities through our Campus Access Policy. More specifically, we have banned the weaponized expression disingenuously known as "leaflets" and "protest signs."
Though this has resulted in some controversy, I stand firmly behind what I said to the media about my commitment to safety in an increasingly dangerous America:
But Johnson said the police “have the latitude to make decisions about those things that would affect the safety and security of the situation,” including banning signs.
Colleges have an obligation to protect students, employees and visitors in an era when acts of domestic terrorism have captured headlines, said Johnson. Concerns about campus violence have spiked, he said, since the 1999 massacre at Columbine High School in Colorado and the 2007 Virginia Tech shootings in which 33 people died.
Columbine caught the attention of educational institutions nationwide, Johnson said, serving as a 9/11 to campuses everywhere. “And Virginia Tech was the second 9/11.”
Although Johnson said he can’t imagine how “words on (a) sign would make a person unsafe,” he did say protest signs could be used as weapons.
“It has nothing to do with what was printed on those objects,” he said, “but what those objects could be used for.”
Some critics suggest that my comparisons to Columbine, Virginia Tech, and 9/11 are excessive, melodramatic, and even unbalanced. These skeptics do not enjoy the sort of perspective that prolonged exposure to academia can imbue upon an open mind. My good friend and colleague Chuck Sorenson understands — we administrators and professors have the obligation to protect the learning environment from any threats, even threats that cannot be detected without years of careful study, ovular discussion, and group therapy.
In this case my detractors are merely ignorant of history, which is strewn with the letter-blood of word-violence empowered and encouraged by the so-called First Amendment to the United States Constitution, a document enacted without any faculty committee consultation whatsoever. Please consider (trigger warning!) these searing images of threatened violence:
Signs are dangerous. They can be heavy, and they have edges, and hurty words. Leaflets are dangerous. You could roll up a bunch of them and swat someone with the little tube. Also you could slip on them. We will remain vigilant against these threats. Not only that, but starting now, we are expanding and supplementing our campus protest policy. The following items are no longer permitted at Sinclair College protest events:
Backpacks: Racists use backpacks to bomb innocents at Martin Luther King Jr. holiday commemorative marches. This is inconsistent with the College's diversity policy. Therefore backpacks are not permitted at protests. [Note: commemorative marches are not permitted on campus.]
Frisbees: Might be disguised chakram.
Hackysacks: Could be disguised grenades; may contain marijuana.
Cell Phones, Smart Phones, iPads, Laptop Computers, Handheld Electronic Devices: These electronic items can all be used to play games. Games like "Doom" are associated with violence by students, as was demonstrated at Columbine. They are not permitted at protests.
Textbooks: Large, heavy, could be used as bludgeoning weapons against campus security by agitators. Known to promote questioning of authority, which is inconsistent with good order on campus.
I expect strict compliance with these new terms by our Campus Security And Order Ministry. It's time that these dissenters started listening, not talking. It's time that they figured it out: we're community college officials for a reason, people.
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