America needs more Auburns, so Auburn must stand firm on its values
The words could easily have emanated from the chaos in Portland or Seattle.
“F**k every single cop…The only ethical choice for any cop to make at this point is to refuse to do their job and quit. The police do not protect people…They are instruments of violence on behalf of capital.”
This statement was expressed, however, not by an Antifa militant rioting and burning down one of America’s cities; it was made by an Auburn University lecturer named Jesse A. Goldberg, Ph.D.
And it was not an isolated incident. Dr. Goldberg has developed a rich portfolio of radical commentary.
He posted a poem on his Facebook page titled “Against The Police,” by Miguel James, which he called “an inspiration.”
He later supported his initial statement by posting, “ACAB. (All Cops Are Bastards). Police do not protect people… The only good cop is a cop who quits.”
He has also stated plainly that he is not in favor of “reforming” or “defunding” police, but rather he advocates for total “prison & police abolition.”
Dr. Goldberg, himself, a white male, tweeted that “Whiteness is violence. Abolish whiteness.”
When these comments gained public notice, they predictably sparked a backlash.
But Auburn’s leadership ultimately decided not to take any “adverse action” against Dr. Goldberg, choosing to keep him on the payroll while shifting him into a research role, rather than as a lecturer.
Now, some of Dr. Goldberg’s colleagues are expressing outrage that he was not allowed to continue with his teaching duties at the university this semester.
In a letter to the editor of the Auburn Plainsman, two-dozen faculty members from the university’s English department decried the “right-wing media” for targeting Dr. Goldberg and the university’s leadership for “comparing Dr. Goldberg’s tweet to hate speech.” They also alleged a “disregard of LGBTQ+ and Black communities” among the school’s top brass.
Dr. Goldberg’s fellow professors engaged in a practice ravaging college campuses across the country. It is the systematic elevation of far-left radical ideas at the expense of speech residing anywhere else on the spectrum of political thought.
In commenting on Dr. Goldberg’s situation, Donald Trump, Jr. so plainly described the problem, “The liberal, anti-American-values eggheads already took over the Ivy League. Now they’re gunning for middle America.”
Unfortunately, proponents of this far-left strategy employ a weapon against which most organizations crumble: fear.
They fear escalating stakes and fear negative publicity — whether warranted or not. Fear makes large institutions act small. Fear turns strong institutions into weak ones.
The fact of the matter is, on college campuses, the debate almost always ends the same: The administration cowers in a corner, desperately hoping not to be “canceled” by the far-left mob.
Auburn must not back down.
Every institution must decide what will be its values, and resolve to adhere to them, even — and perhaps especially — when they are challenged.
So, what are Auburn’s values?
The Auburn Creed states, among other things, “I believe in obedience to law because it protects the rights of all.”
Dr. Goldberg’s anti-law enforcement statements quite clearly run counter to this, as does his advocacy for completely abolishing the police and prisons altogether.
The Creed also states, “I believe in my Country.”
Dr. Goldberg’s statements are a reflection of the revolutionary fervor being expressed around the United States by violent activists who are not seeking to improve our Union, but rather burn it all to the ground.
With these things in mind, an Auburn spokesperson was clearly correct when he stated that Dr. Goldberg’s remarks were “completely counter to Auburn values.”
And that should come as no surprise to any student or faculty member at Auburn, since The Auburn Creed is well known by all.
Auburn should stand its ground and have no qualms with rejecting the radical views of Dr. Goldberg.
There is no lack of leftist political and ideological thought on university campuses around our country. But there are very few institutions of higher learning where a diversity of opinions — much less conservative opinions — are welcomed.
Auburn’s student body has consistently been recognized among the most conservative in the nation. Universities, like all institutions in a free society, must be responsive to their consumers.
But on a deeper level, Auburn must stand its ground because the fact of the matter is, America needs more Auburns. The universities that bow to the leftists are a dime a dozen. The institutions that are willing to stand tall at a time like this are, sadly, few and far between.
And the reality is, Auburn’s values are not conservative values. They’re American values. Those values are worth defending.
And, if nothing else, at least students will learn that while you can say whatever you want in America, that does not absolve you of the consequences that may come with it.
Tim Howe is an owner of Yellowhammer Multimedia