To understand just how depraved today’s college campuses are, compare the treatment of two professors – one defending a Western, pro-American democracy (Israel) and the other suspected of supporting this century’s most gruesome Islamist terror organization, the Islamic State (“ISIS”).
Julio Pino, an associate history professor at Kent State University, is currently under investigation by the FBI and the Department of Homeland Security for potential ties to ISIS.
Pino’s jihadist leanings include possible threats against the U.S. government and virulently anti-Israel rants. In 2002, he praised a teenage Palestinian suicide bomber.
In a 2014 open letter to “academic friends of Israel,” Pino published an unhinged and anti-Semitic invective. But despite decades of hateful and extremist statements, Kent State reportedly gave Pino multiple awards, including the Faculty Excellence Award in 2010, 2003, 2000 and 1996, along with the Professional Excellence Award in 1999 and 1997.
The Kent Stater, the university’s student newspaper, provided him with a video platform to defend himself, and the editorial board wrotethat “it is too soon to make a judgment on the investigation, both from the FBI and public perspective.” When asked about the allegations against Pino, the editor of the paper, Emily Mills, reportedly replied: “He’s very well spoken…He expresses his viewpoints, which he has every right to do.”
Kent State remains comfortable with him teaching despite his Islamist rhetoric and now a federal investigation.
Contrast Pino’s treatment with how Connecticut College has persecuted Professor Andrew Pessin for defending Israel in its 2014 war with Hamas (a State Department-designated terrorist organization).
Over six months after Pessin’s Facebook post critiquing Hamas, the student newspaper at Connecticut College launched a surprise character assassination by publishing three editorials condemning Pessin (including on the front page), without giving him a chance to defend himself against libelous accusations of racism.
Connecticut College President Katherine Bergeron publicly condemned Pessin and her denunciations still appear on the college’s website, long after a Washington Post column exposed evidence strongly suggesting that the allegations against Pessin were politically motivated lies.
More absurdly, Bergeron promised to “review our social media policies to ensure they include appropriate advisory language about respectful expression,” even as her administration continues to allow the school’s student newspaper to host libels against Pessin alongside anti-Semitic diatribes about Zionists ruling the world. The administration also continues to display statements from scores of academic departments, school officials, student associations, and other college affiliates, denouncing Pessin on the official Connecticut College website. No other issue or speech is similarly scrutinized or condemned on the school’s website.
In her remarks last March, Bergeron also promised to update the school’s “protocol for bias incidents so that those who come forward under these circumstances are well served by the process.”
But her lofty commitments proved empty after the bias incidents against Jewish students last December, when Conn Students in Solidarity with Palestine (“CSSP”) placed posters around campus bashing Birthright, a program that helps young people travel to Israel. The CSSP posters called the program a form of “settler colonialism” and demonized Israel. As Phyllis Chesler reported, the CSSP campaign “frightened and humiliated…Jewish students on campus who will soon be visiting Israel for the first time” but the administration only issued a spinelessly neutral statement during the academic break.
Anti-Israel sentiment is therefore welcome on bulletin boards throughout Connecticut College’s campus, regardless of whether it is true. But the “poor judgment” Andrew Pessin showed in a Facebook post merits his condemnation and absence from campus for at least a year.
When the Washington Post revealed evidence that Lamiya Khandaker’s accusations against Pessin were likely factual distortions, the administration should have realized that Khandaker’s op-ed probably violated the honor system at Connecticut College.
But Khandaker was apparently never sanctioned, and kept her position as the student government chair of “equity and diversity” at Connecticut College, even though she reportedly scoffed at anti-Semitism and called for Israel’s destruction on her Facebook page.
Worse still, the Connecticut College administration doubled down on its support for anti-Semites and anti-Israel activists, by granting Khandaker the “Scholar Activist Award” last spring.
Back to Pino, the Islamist. He’s still teaching at taxpayer-funded Kent State and receives far more support from his school’s newspaper. Kent State has given Pino many teaching awards over the years, unlike Pessin, who has never received any award in his decade of teaching at Connecticut College (student ratings of Pessin’s teaching average 4.2 out of 5; Pino’s rating is 2.7). There was no campus-wide talk where Pino was condemned in front of the community and media. A statement by President Beverly Warren seems primarily intended to reassure the community that there is no related terrorism or security threat.
The worldview promoted by the tyranny of political correctness breeds a new generation of radicals friendly to Islamist regimes, values, and trends, and hostile to the U.S., Israel, and Western values.
This is the morally bankrupt climate in which America’s future is being educated.