Let this be a lesson to academic appeasers.
The campus MSA and the Minnesota CAIR chapter pressured Hamline University to purge a Latina art teacher for showing a Shiite painting of Mohammed. Ham U called her an ‘Islamophobe’. But then, unexpectedly, what was left of the liberal consensus pushed back in the forums of PEN and the New York Times. MPAC hung CAIR out to dry.
And then CAIR hung Hamline out to dry, releasing an awkward statement that ultimately disavowed the idea that the Shiite Mohammed painting was Islamophobic.
Now, Hamline is getting sued.
The adjunct professor accused of Islamophobia for showing artwork in class that depicted the Prophet Muhammad filed a lawsuit against Hamline University on Tuesday as Hamline’s president conceded the school mishandled the controversy.
After both MPAC and CAIR’s national organization rejected the idea that this was ‘Islamophobia’ (the local chapter has still clung to the argument that it was), Hamline doesn’t have a leg to stand on. And it has no one to blame but itself.
Lopez Prater said in her complaint that Hamline officials defamed her with their public comments. The school also breached her contract by withdrawing the spring teaching assignment, she alleges, and discriminated against her by imposing the Muslim student’s “interpretation of Islam on all Hamline employees and students.”
She’s asking the judge to order Hamline to pay monetary damages.
Pretty sure Hamline will settle.
In a joint statement Tuesday, President Miller and Board of Trustees Chairwoman Ellen Watters said the criticism of Hamline has “caused us to review and re-examine our actions.
“Hamline is a multi-cultural, multi-religious community that has been a leader in creating space for civil conversations. Like all organizations, sometimes we misstep,” the statement continued. “In the interest of hearing from and supporting our Muslim students, language was used that does not reflect our sentiments on academic freedom. Based on all that we have learned, we have determined that our usage of the term ‘Islamophobic’ was therefore flawed. We strongly support academic freedom for all members of the Hamline community.”
That’s after declaring, “respect for the observant Muslim students in that classroom should have superseded academic freedom.”
It’s too late now.
The question is will Hamline and other colleges learn anything from this experience?
Running on wokeness, Hamline decided to back Islamist demands, sacrificing academic freedom to MSA and CAIR, only to have the Islamists jettison them overboard once the backlash had arrived.
Next time that academic appeasers are tempted to support Islamists, they may want to consider how quickly the Islamists will hang them out to dry.