- Academic freedom is a core value of the American university. It is defined as the "belief that the freedom of inquiry by faculty members is essential to the mission of the academy as well as the principles of academia, and that scholars should have freedom to teach or communicate ideas or facts (including those that are inconvenient to external political groups or to authorities) without being targeted for repression, job loss, or imprisonment."
- But there are limitations to this idea. Universities don't have to allow academics to spew all sorts of hateful, even dangerous speech, under the guise of academic freedom. This is not a plea for a safe space that so many of my peers are calling for these days. This is a call for my university- Purdue- to stop supporting an extremist professor on our campus- Bill V. Mullen.
Bill Mullen's extremism
Bill Mullen teaches American Studies, African American Studies, Cultural Studies, Working-Class Studies, Marxist Theory, and American Literature in the College of Liberal Arts. He is an avid supporter of Marxism, and is not shy about pushing his views in class. He is anti-American, and sees his native country as a major force for evil in the world.
All of that is within the bounds of acceptable discourse on a college campus, and is not inherently dangerous.
But there's more.
Mullen consistently affirms his support for terrorists, especially if they are Palestinian. Jewish lives are of little value to Mullen. He has even gone to meet with supporters of members of terrorist groups. While visiting Israel in 2002, Mullen met with with Janan Abdu, a research associate at the Mada al-Carmel Research Center in Haifa, and wife of Ameer Makhoul. Makhoul is serving a nine-year prison sentence for spying on Israel for the Shiite terrorist group Hezbollah.
- According to students who have been in his class, Mullen is obsessed with talking about Israel. But since he talks about it so much, he gets sloppy at times, and lets his real thoughts about Jews sneak in when he really gets worked up. Friends of mine have been shocked to hear Mullen talk about "the Jewish lobby," "Jew settlers," "Zio-Nazis," and "Rothschilds and their ilk."
Let’s not beat around the bush – this is anti-Semitic speech, plain and simple. This type of speech is not protected under academic freedom. But for some reason, Purdue turns a blind eye to the extremist in their mist. He has contact with many impressionable young students, and is even the faculty advisor for a student group – Students for Justice in Palestine, not surprisingly.
With the SJP students, Mullen advocates Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions of the Jewish state, ostensibly out of some concern for human rights. Through the cover of the SJP, Mullen can take his hatred of the Jewish people and push a boycott against them, telling everyone he just hates Israel, not the Jews who live there.
Wake up, Purdue
Why is Purdue University giving this hateful man a platform? Why is it letting him influence the next generation of our country's leaders? Why won't more students come forward against this man? It is an open secret that Mullen expresses his Jew-hatred regularly, why won't more people take a stand? Why are students afraid of Bill Mullen?
There is only one correct course to take. Bill V. Mullen must be outed as the hateful man he is, and must not be allowed to sully Purdue's name and ruin the education of thousands of hard-working students.