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UC-Davis cites Pres. Trump while defending decision not to discipline prof who advocated killing cops


They say his speech, disgusting as it is, is constitutionally protected

University of California-Davis professor Joshua Clover. (Image source: YouTube video screenshot)

The University of California at Davis defended its decision not to discipline or terminate a professor who advocated for the killing of police officers, according to Campus Reform.

What's this about? UC-Davis professor has made violently anti-police comments in a 2015 interview and 2014 tweets. For example, he told SF Weekly that "People think that cops need to be reformed. They need to be killed."

In 2014, Clover wrote on Twitter that "I am thankful that every living cop will one day be dead, some by their own hand, some by others, too many of old age #letsnotmakemore."

What did UC-Davis initially do about this? When the anti-police comments became public in February, UC-Davis officials condemned Clover in a statement, saying his statements don't "reflect our institutional values, and we find it unconscionable that anyone would condone much less appear to advocate murder."

That has not satisfied everyone, however. California state Assemblyman James Gallagher (R) and Citrus Heights Police Chief Ronald Lawrence have petitioned for Clover to be fired, Campus Reform reported.

UC-Davis holds its ground: Despite the pressure from Gallagher, Lawrence and others, UC-Davis will not discipline Clover for his comments, citing the First Amendment and President Donald Trump's recent executive order requiring public schools to enforce freedom of speech.

Chancellor Gary May wrote the following in a letter to Gallagher last week:

Professor Clover's statements, although offensive and abhorrent, do not meet the legal requirement for "true threats" that might exempt them from First Amendment protection. UC-Davis places a high value on civility in the academic community, but the desire to promote these values does not outweigh the rights of professors to express themselves on political issues, even if their expression is deeply repellent to members of our community and the public.

In addition to existing state and federal constitutional requirements, the university is subject to President Trump's March 22, 2019, executive order directing federal agencies to take steps to ensure that institutions receiving federal research or education grants promote free inquiry in a manner consistent with applicable law, including the First Amendment."
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