By Celine Ryan
A conservative professor at Florida Atlantic University forcefully defended himself when student protesters interrupted a faculty meeting to once again accuse him of white supremacy.
Campus Reform recently reported that flyers were found around FAU’s campus accusing Dr. Marshall DeRosa of being a “white supremacist” with “ties” to the Koch brothers and the League of the South Institute.
At the time, DeRosa told Campus Reform that these “ties” were in reference to the fact that he received funding for the Civics Education Project, with which he taught civics at a maximum security prison, and denied any links to white supremacist groups.
Indeed, DeRosa has explained that while he was once a faculty member with the League of the South Institute, he cut ties with the group long ago once it began to become more extreme.
On April 2, the crusade against Dr. DeRosa continued, as students organized to ambush him at a faculty senate meeting. A facebook event titled “FAU Students Say NO to White Supremacy” invited students to the meeting to “use [their] student power to destabilize FAU’s institutional structure.”
“Does your professor have ties to white supremacy?” the event description reads. “Is your professor funded by the Koch Brothers? Is your professor funded by the private prison industry who have committed mass atrocities to people of color? Is your professor a neo-confederate that believes in a white Christian state? Marshall DeRosa IS.”
Video footage of the meeting obtained by Campus Reform shows DeRosa suggesting that these accusations against him have resulted in threats being made against him and his family, and that he does not plan to let the situation continue.
“The fact of the matter is, there isn’t an iota of truth to those charges,” he declared. “I could parade a thousand people in here that would…testify those charges are false. But to be quite frank, I don’t care what you believe, because many of you aren’t concerned about the truth—facts—they react emotionally.”
DeRosa insisted, however, that he does not blame the students who have been protesting him, calling them mere “peddlers of these lies” and saying that “the kingpins” are the one he truly wanted to address.
“I know some of the faculty behind this. They’ve weaponized politically their fiduciary position as a faculty member of this university for political purposes,” DeRosa said. “They’re going to be rooted out…I guarantee it, because I’m not going to put up with this. It put me at risk, it put my family at risk.”
Students in attendance challenged DeRosa when he claimed that he had been getting threatening emails, demanding to see the emails.
One vocal graduate student, Jonathan Ray Jackson, even went on to assert that the students have a right to read all of DeRosa’s emails, in order to “know why [he] [has] ties to groups that have been publicly outed as having white supremacist ties.”
Jackson later interrupted another faculty member who was in the process of pointing out that it is “okay” for people to have differing viewpoints, shouting that “you have to be right” and asserting that the faculty member did not have the right to speak unless it is “right” in his view.
When asked to talk in turn, Jackson shouted, “I don’t want to give the floor to lies and bigots.”
“You don’t like my views, my viewpoints,” DeRosa concluded. “I won’t back away from anything I’ve ever said or written. It’s not racist. It’s about politics that are very complex. Many people can’t comprehend or understand it. So if you want to have a public forum and debate these issues bring it on…You have viewpoints and ideas? Let’s engage in debate.”
FAU Turning Point USA chapter President Morgan Sachs told Campus Reform that she was thrilled by DeRosa’s performance.
“It’s great that he’s refusing to back down,” she remarked. “As a student leader, it’s very motivational and inspiring to see a professor take a stand against these false allegations like he has.”
Notably, the FAU Young Democratic Socialists group denied being involved in the protest against DeRosa, saying that while it “does not agree with any of DeRosa’s stances,” the protesters “were from other organizations and other students without a faculty advisor.”
Follow the author of this article on Twitter: @celinedryan
First published by Campus Reform
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