Professor Sues Purdue for Violation of his Free Speech Rights on Islam

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Frontpage Interview’s guest today is Professor Maurice Eisenstein, an associate professor of political science at Purdue University Calumet. He is suing Purdue after the school’s investigation of his comments about Islam on Facebook. Though the probe cleared him, he says Purdue still violated his free speech rights.

FP: Professor Maurice Eisenstein, welcome to Frontpage Interview.

I would like to talk to you today about your ordeal at Purdue. How did the whole incident start?

Eisenstein: Thanks Jamie.

The entire attack on my free speech began over a post I made to Facebook in November 2011.  I posted a picture with a storyline about an Islamist Muslim group (Boko Haram) killing Christians in Nigeria.  I asked: Where were the moderate Muslims? They must be listening to that idiot Mohammad.

From this, one of my PUC colleagues, a Muslim, told me (on Facebook) that she believed my statement about Mohammad was beyond despicable.  Once she responded to me, then several of her students were able come to my Facebook page to tell me that they also believed that I was out-of-bounds for denigrating Mohammad.  Their essential issue was that I was offending Mohammed and Islam.  In the wake of that incident, the Muslim Student Association became involved and they did a press release saying that no prophet (Jesus, Moses, Mohammad — their argument not mine) should be insulted because offending a religion was not an acceptable use of freedom of speech.

Basically, this whole ordeal started because I insulted Mohammad.  I did insult Mohammad.  I may not have been nice about it, I may have been provocative about it, but quite frankly, I think killing Christians because they are Christian and not Muslim is much more insulting than calling Mohammad an idiot.

From this incident, there emerged an active campaign from the Muslim faculty and students, the Muslim Student Association (acting, as it claimed, on behalf of all Muslims), and their leftist supporters, active collusion to get the University to fire me for offending them.  Because the University could not fire me for Facebook comments, the faculty, students, and the MSA decided that it would then say that I was harassing and discriminating against students in my classroom.  Toward that end, audio tapes of one of my courses from Spring 2011 were then posted on YouTube. It was an Introduction to Judaism course, which I taught from a pro-Jewish and pro-Israel perspective.  Two of the books I used in the course were: Why the Jews? by Praeger and Telushkin as well as The Israel Test by George Gilder.  Anyway, I am very provocative and blunt — I like challenging students, particularly since most of what is taught on campus (irrespective of the discipline) comes from a center left perspective.

Now, there are over 40 to 45 hours of lectures from that class.  Out of those 40 to 45 hours, about 16 minutes were posted on YouTube and, of course, these 16 minutes were selectively edited so that I was portrayed in the worst possible light and without context.  Then, based on these tapes, in conjunction with my Facebook comments, 9 separate harassment and discrimination complaints were filed against me.

FP: What tactic was used by your accusers?

Eisenstein: The tactic was: the University cannot investigate Facebook, but if we tie the problem to his teaching, well, then the University can investigate it.  The problem with these 9 complaints are many.  To try to sum it up:

First: only 1 of the complaints was from a student who was ever in one of my classes.  That student was in a class of mine in Fall 2011 for two class periods. Yes, you read that right, that student was in a class of mine for two whole class periods.  I was teaching how democracy came from the Anglo-Saxon Protestants — the English — as written by DeToqueville and this student was offended because I mentioned that democracy did not derive from any other culture or place.  As a Muslim, this student was offended.

Second: There were no student complaints filed about the class I taught in Spring 2011.  No student ever complained and to this day, the audio tapes posted on You Tube are anonymous.  No one knows where they are from.

Third: 8 complaints involved individuals or organizations that had no basis for filing harassment/discrimination complaints.  Two were from students I had never met let alone ever had in one of my classes.  One was from the MSA — who filed on behalf of all Muslims.  Five were from faculty members and of those five faculty members, 4 of them were not even involved in the Facebook exchange that started the whole ordeal.

In short, there was a concerted effort to get as many people as possible to file harassment/discrimination complaints against me so that the University could have a basis for sanctioning me.  The University then spent the next 3 months investigating my freedom of speech.  They investigated my Facebook postings, they investigated my class from Spring 2011 (based on anonymous tapes) even though the University policy for harassment/discrimination states that no complaints filed after 120 days can be investigated (e.g., the class had ended far longer than 120 days earlier during which time no complaints were filed — nor have any complaints from a student in that class been filed).

They investigated my Fall 2011 classes because of the one student who was in my course for two class periods.  The University hired an outside investigator who interviewed no less than 30 people (some of whom I do not even know) — emphasizing that Facebook was being used as a means of assessing me and my character — covering my entire career at PUC.  It was nothing less than an all-out assault being waged against me.  For example, one of the faculty members who filed a complaint against me alleged that I took down her name plate (off her door, off her desk, I am not sure) in 1991 or 1992 while we were both adjuncts at PUC!  And the University investigated this as well.  It was beyond ridiculous.  It factually shows that Purdue University has accepted the Muslim notion of “being offended” as a legal definition.  It you offend the religion in any way you are liable.

FP: The University cleared you of these 9 harassment/discrimination complaints. How or why do you think that happened?

Eisenstein: My very short answer is: the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education, FIRE.  If not for FIRE, I think things could have and would have likely gone very differently.  FIRE sent a letter in January 2012 and that letter was made public about 1 day before the University had to issue a ruling on these 9 complaints.  The University ended up extending its decision time-line in the aftermath of the public relations fallout from the FIRE letter.

I really do think that without the support from a national organization with the credibility that FIRE has, the University would have tried to initiate termination proceedings.  The whole attempt to fire me would be over the issue of “offending” someone.  (For those unfamiliar — firing a tenure professor is a complicated ordeal.)

FP: What about the retaliation claims found against you?

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  • Chezwick

    The outcome of Eisenstein's lawsuit is very important in terms of precedent. I would implore him not to agree to a settlement offer that requires him to remain mum regarding its terms. PUC should be made to publicly acknowledge its transgressions and express contrition…the kind of self-criticism "exercise" that the Left traditionally imposes on its victims.

    • Jules

      "These people" come to the U.S.A. where Freedom of Speech is protected by The Constitution and then protest against whatever speech they decree is not "free." There are many universities in other countries (e.g.,Islamic) that do not permit "insulting" the prophet. Why not go there?

      "They" come to our singular nation to take and take and take… our democracy, our Western Freedoms, and to exploit our institutions of higher education, then protest against what made it great.

      "They" come here to take our Constitution and Bill of Rights and replace it with their anti-Western, archaic, totalitarian, supremacist ideology. What makes them think they can come here to be educated, but then intimidate and re-educate us? What makes them think we will take THEIR INSULTS sitting down? Think again.

      Professor Maurice Eisenstein: May The Force Be With YOU.

  • SCREW SOCIALISM

    The greatest insult to Islam are the islamofascist terrorists who are named some variant of the name mohammed.

    That the formerly respected religion of Islam has been dragged into the gutter by Muslims is Islams greatest shame.

  • Anthony

    “Formerly respected religion of Islam”? Are you kidding?

    Don’t base your romantic notions about the worlds most deadly, repressive, intolerant and longest lived totalitarian system of controlling societies on the Hollywood film “Kingdom of Heaven”.

    You sound stupid.

  • Anthony

    Professor Eisenstein is a brave man, an example of someone who is standing up against the evil, the Left has unleashed upon our country.

    Think of this completely malicious enterprise as an example of the Left’s complete participation in the empowerment of intolerance and the institutionalization of sharia style, Islamic blasphemy law into their policy.

    Why? Because there is an evil nexus as Horowitz reveals time and again, between the Left and the Moslems. This relationship is for the moment symbiotic , but in time, will result as it does everywhere Moslems are imported, into a death struggle with Islam, as history shows, reigning supreme.

    Professor Eisenstein knows well that the idea of ” Moderate Moslems” is a comforting thought in theory, but in practice, most, if not all, Moslems turned on him. Most, if not all, of the Leftist facility, turned on him. In fact, the facility bent out of shape to pander and empower the evil that is Islam that will make this American university on par with an Egyptian university if it could.

    Welcome to Winston Smith’s Oceania. Scratch a Liberal, find a fascist.

    meanwhile, the umma marches on, absorbing mindless non-Moslem American liberal “students” a la janissaries, on it’s march to victory over the infidel.

    • Leta

      The evil left has unleashed Islam on our country? What the hell are you talking about. Blame our immigration laws or something but Liberals don't want Muslims persecuted. That doesn't mean we like Islam.

  • Jerseychris

    You're "center left" ? And the people who fired you are what? Just a little bit left of center left. It's time Jews learned that the are rejected by their real co-religionists, other liberals.

  • oldtimer

    Go Professor. I hope your example spurs others to stand up for their constitutional rights against people, religions and groups who think they can do anything they like using our laws against us.

  • Schlomotion

    This is why I think people like Al Sharpton and organizations like StandWithUs should not cry wolf. Here is a genuine case of censorship and a legitimate First Amendment lawsuit against a university. It is the first one out of several reports on Frontpagemag that is actually true.

    • Boston

      Who are you and what have you done with Schlomotion ?

    • Ghostwriter

      Yeah,where is the obnoxious,Jew-hating jerk Schlomotion? Did aliens do the human race a favor by replacing him with someone who ACTUALLY uses his brain?

      • Schlomotion

        Jew-hating Schlomotion only exists in your mind.

  • StephenD

    "Miriam Joyce, a professor who filed a complaint against me is quoted as saying that she believes in free-speech but only if it does not offend our Saudi students."

    So, Free Speech is free until it is "offensive" to someone.

    Suppose someone is "offended" by the word Purple…would the use of that word be banned?

    My point is that the reason we have a law defending free speech is that eventually it WILL BE OFFESNIVE to someone and our right to continue to express those offensive thoughts are protected. If we only spoke words that are never offensive to anyone, why would we need a law protecting our right in the first place?

    As was said on these pages many times before; our right to free speech is our most valuable right. If you lose your right to object; if you can no longer disagree, then the one with the bull horn makes the rules…and there is nothing you can say about it.

  • popseal

    My issue with Islam is not the debate about radicals vs. moderates. The real problem is that Islam was founded by a known killer 1400 years ago, has been spread mostly by the sword, and doesn't allow for differing opinions about its violent and superstitious nature. If left unchecked, Islam will dominate the world and the killing of non-Muslims will be accepted on an international scale.

    • http://bibleraptureprophecy.com anymoment@att.net

      Now killing people that offend or disagree with you is really offensive!

      til the Shout,

      t.
      bibleraptureprophecy.com

  • http://hippiepooter.blogspot.com hippiepooter

    Professor Eisenstein is the victim of a totalitarian alliance of Islam and the Left. What really is tragically missing from Professor Eisenstein's account is the faculty and students rising up against this assault on liberty. I suppose – or at least one likes to think – that quite a few of his leftist colleagues and students dont like what has happened to him, but are afraid to raise their heads above the parapet in case they fall victims of the evil he is suffering. Or they've just had their value system worn down to such an extent by the mind control of politicial correctness that at best they're indifferent to the proto-tyranny taking place on their campus.

    Way to go prof. You're one guy who wont allow the Marxist left and their Islamist chums take democracy out from under your feet. God bless.

  • Rybbe

    Hi Jamie, will you consider compiling a list of offensive Universities, like PUC, who terrorize their faculty and/or students in similar manners? My children will be going to college soon and I would like to have a handy list of totalitarians to avoid when I make my decision on which bastion of higher learning I am going to write my huge checks to. I would have to include all campuses of Purdue on this list and it really makes me sad because I am a big fan of Big 10 universities. This story shocks me to my soul and I would be afraid to send my children to a place like this. This university would throw my child to the wolves to protect Islam. Very very sad.

    • curmudgeon

      among leftist universities, which is almost all of them, there are those who have abused faculty or students for not being sufficiently compliant with every anti-american idea ever invented, and those who are willing, but whose faculty/students are too wary or indoctrinated to violate the dictates of political correctness.

  • Guest

    This is not a freedom of speech issue. Freedom of speech does not protect your employment status.

    "The University has policies that say the right thing — their policies state that speech protected by the First Amendment will not be investigated "

    I very much doubt the truthfulness of this statement. This policy would eliminate the ability of the University to discipline any of its employees for anything they say, including personal attacks on colleagues or students.

    • guest

      All you would need to do is read Purdue's own policies, and I will quote here: "The University reaffirms its commitment to freedom of speech as guaranteed by the First Amendment to the United States Constitution. Accordingly, any form of speech or conduct that is protected by the First Amendment is not subject to this policy." For so many of you, no matter how many times you hear it, you just refuse to believe that public Universities are not the same as private employers. The laws are different if you are a public University versus if you work for a private corporation.

      • coyote3

        Well, the establishment clause is about the government, and a state college/university "is" the government. Now, they could have adopted a different procedure, but as you cite, they did not. They chose to adopt the First Amendment, and they are stuck with it.

  • No Muslima slave

    Professor Eisenstein, you were correct, and your Muslim colleague is an idiot like the sick man she defends. She mindlessly follows a man who repeatedly raped a nine-year-old girl – shouldn't SHE be investigated for supporting a child-rapist?

    "The Prophet wrote the (marriage contract) with 'Aisha while she was six years old and consummated his marriage with her while she was nine years old and she remained with him for nine years (i.e. till his death)." Sahih Bukhari, Volume 7, Book 62, Number 88

    I would find her euphoric esteem of Mohammed to be "beyond despicable" – please let me know her name so I can tell her.

    Please continue to insult Mohammed – what an evil despicable character. (Yes, likely a FICTIONAL character, on top of it.)

    Oh, and Muslims constantly "insult" the "prophet Jesus," according to Christian ideology, by claiming he is not the Son of God, so perhaps Muslims by their very ideology should be punished for insulting Jesus.

    I'm embarrassed for any purportedly educated person – especially a woman! – who would defend this depraved cult. SHAME ON HER.

  • SoCalMike

    The Left ALWAYS sells out.
    The American Left French kissing and kitty licking supremacist Muslims should not surprise us.
    During the Cold War and the Vietnam War, they were sympathetic and even loyal in some cases to Ho Chi Minh and the Soviets. Even for the ones who weren't actually loyal, they still saved their best venom for Reagan in ways they never would have dreamed criticizing Breshnev or the Soviets.
    They spent the aftermath of the American departure from Vietnam HIDING the communist atrocities from the public in order to hide the blood on their own hands from the Killing Fields and the Boat People.
    The 93rd Congress (Democrats) helped Vietnamese communists murder the Boat People and created the Killing Fields of Cambodia.

    The current love affair they enjoy with jihadis is simply a logical extension of their self-loathing nasty and squeamish natures. They are the most despicable of things…..

  • RoguePatriot6

    They're trying to get their foot in the door one inch at a time. I'm so glad that someone is standing up to this BS. There need to be more law suites against this passive form of Jihad because I assure you, that they will not hesitate to file one against legitimate buisiness or law abiding citizens to further cow the American spirit into a PC cesspool. I'm starting to think that a large number of people beleive that only the Federal Government can be held accountable for violating someone's Constitutional rights.

    Look at what happened to the UK and Europe where it's an actual criminal offense to insult Islam. Obama and Hilliary attended a conference in December 2011 wth the OIC to ban all speech against Islam. In other words they and others alike are selling out our freedoms to Islamists.

    • Gerald

      Every time Muslims quote the Koran saying that Jesus is only a prophet and not the Son of God but the son of Miriam I am offended. Every time they quote the Koran saying that the Muslims are the best of people and the unbelievers(that is us, the rest of humanity) are the vilest of creatures I am offended. I think we should start suing Muslims at every opportunity.

  • marios

    G-d bless you Prof.Eisenstein. Wish you the best at ll. My deepest respect for what you doing to protect not only your reputation but our country.
    What is going on in the most US Universities with 90% of teachers/Professors stuff are leftist is a victory of stealth Jihad. Universities stuff behavior are what Muslims want : they already dhimmi, already subjugated people. It is shocking that after 9/11 tragedy which was Muslims world declaration of war against our country instead deport Muslims immigrants (including students) as fifth column US government increased quote for them. Especially it related to BHO who said in his Cairo speech that US "the biggest Muslim country". It was not slip of the tongue it was promise. He is working on it and each year of his reign 1 ML Muslims immigrated to our country. Hundreds of domestic and foreigner Muslims plot have been revealed by FBI.

  • marios

    How about mayor Hasan massacre in Fort Hood? MSM trying to silence this our officials betrayal of our country. Stop Muslim immigration till it is too late. M. Romney is the next President. He being Massachusetts Governor did not permit to come then Iranian Pres (Rafsanjani, I think) for making speech in Harvard. Harvard is one of citadel of Leftists and islamists.

  • Rene O'Riordan

    I can't read all the posts here – gotta get dinner!! But does Purdue have inward investment from the Saudis because this can cripple a University from being fair minded!! – God bless – Rene

  • David Marshak

    Would people feel this way if Jews and Judaism were insulted by a Muslim professor?

    • Spider

      No this happens all the time without incident. Just look at all those Israel divestment movements on campus etc.etc.

  • guest

    They play is to stop free speech against the god of darkness, mohammed. If he really ever existed.

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