Bulletin N° 942
Subject: A request in support of Academic Freedom and a warning against Polulation Control.
Grenoble, December 11, 2020
Dear Colleagues and Friends of CEIMSA,
Please find below a copy of my open letter to Dr. Mark Crispin Miller, Professor of Communications at NYU who is embroiled in a battle for academic freedom at the institution where he has taught for the past 20 years. (Also, please see the Appendix at the bottom of this page containing two documents from Professor Miller which further elucidate his struggle to preserve free speech and independent research at New York University.)
The second item below is a report by James Corbett on the history of behavioral science and the theories and practices of population control that have been recorded and gathered and are now being put in place, under the pretext of political necessity in response to the “Covid-19 pandemic.”
Francis McCollum Feeley
Professeur honoraire de l'Université Grenoble-Alpes
Ancien Directeur des Researches
Université de Paris-Nanterre
Director of The Center for the Advanced Study
of American Institutions and Social Movements
The University of California-San Diego
1) December 11, 2020
Dear Professor Miller,
Thank you for the information about the conflict that has arisen in your Department of Media, Culture, and Communications at NYU’s Steinhardt School of Culture, Education, Human Development at NYU and the repressive measures being assembled to silence you. No one to my knowledge contests the fact that you are an unusually productive intellectual, and that you provide information and analyses that otherwise would be lost to large numbers of people. Your collective work – which includes frequent public talks published on You Tube and elsewhere, articles published on your own website, News From Underground, and of course your many books and articles – has made significant contributions to public discussions on a variety of important issues. The pedagogy that you practice in the classroom, by reliable accounts, is truly exemplary, encouraging students to develop a problematic and to formulate research methods and conduct independent research and critical thinking that will produce original insights and new understandings instead of indoctrination through repetition of received ideas, as is so often the case in “higher education” classes.
I have included with this email the two documents you shared with me, to encourage CEIMSA readers to become familiar with your case and, if they are so moved, join in your defense and the defense of Academic Freedom by writing, as you have suggested, an email expressing their concerns to NYU President, Andrew Hamilton, urging him to intervene in this departmental affair with a (polite) message:
Dr. Andrew Hamilton
Office of the President
New York University
70 Washington Square South
New York, NY 10012
and in addition sending a CC. of this mail to Provost Katherine Fleming at: firstname.lastname@example.org,
as well as sending by BCC a copy of the same mail to you at: email@example.com.
With these letters and their copies circulating at NYU, we can only hope that your colleagues and administrators will be put on notice that this issue reaches far beyond the Department of Media, Culture, and Communications at NYU’s Steinhardt School of Culture, Education, Human Development and your academic community; it concerns all teachers and students who have a vested interest in Academic Freedom for future generations in the United States and beyond.
And to close, here, for CEIMSA readers, is the link you sent me that contains your radio interview of December 9 on WABC Radio with Frank Morano, in which you discuss your case at NYU: Controversy, Crony Capitalism & COVID. (Interview starts at 00:24:00)
2) « Mouse Utopia and The Blackest Pill – #PropagandaWatch” – with James Corbett.
Published December 8, 2020
Faculty Petition on Oct. 21 against Professor Mark Crispin Miller.
October 21, 2020
To: Dean Jack Knott and Provost Katherine Fleming
We, the undersigned faculty in the Department of Media, Culture, and Communication affirm the values of academic freedom. As faculty in a department that shares and fosters a deep value of critical thinking and analysis, we believe in the principles of discourse, debate, and consensus building. We also affirm that our role as professors in the classroom is above all to foster student engagement, analysis, and inquiry, and we are committed to maintaining the health, safety, and learning opportunities of MCC students and staff.
Professor Mark Crispin Miller is currently circulating a petition accusing our department of violating his academic freedom and conducting an email campaign against the department. Over the years, many of us have been distressed and concerned over the positions that Professor Miller has espoused on his highly visible website, where he prominently displays his title as a full tenured professor in our department. These positions include characterization of transgender surgery as a eugenic form of sterilization, direct mockery and ridicule of trans individuals, and denial of the Sandy Hook elementary school shooting. No matter how damaging these positions may be to the reputation of our department, Professor Miller has the right to his opinions. Academic freedom and freedom of speech are rights that we must uphold.
However, a defense of academic freedom is no excuse where Professor Miller’s behavior constitutes discrimination, attacks against students and others in our community, or advocacy for an unsafe learning environment. For several years, students have complained regularly about Professor Miller’s conduct in the classroom and the way in which he engages discussion around controversial views and non-evidence based arguments. In all cases the response of NYU leadership has been to state that the Office of General Council is aware and to tell students and faculty to file a bias complaint. Yet even when complaints have been filed (and many have been) to NYU’s bias review boards, the Office of Equal Opportunity, and to school leaders, the situation has not changed or improved.
Recently on his public blog and on social media platforms, Professor Miller attacked a student who publicly objected to his criticism of mask usage in an in-classroom setting, and used his position of authority to intimidate students who choose to wear masks and abide by NYU policy, New York State law, and CDC guidelines. Professor Miller went on to repeatedly name and identify the contact information of this student, opening an opportunity for cyberbullying and threatening communication directed toward the student, which subsequently occurred and continues.
We do not condone nor will we tolerate intimidation of students, staff, and colleagues. We support our students, staff, and colleagues who choose to wear masks and follow NYU health protocols and New York 10/28/2020 New York University Mail - Letter from MCC Faculty
State law. We support the queer, transgender, and non-binary members of the NYU community. We support those in our community who are Black and Indigenous, people of color, and immigrants, and who come from marginalized and historically underrepresented communities, particularly those who have been targets of ongoing and systemic racism and violence. We unequivocally condemn white supremacy, anti-trans/non-binary bias, and any hate speech.
We call on Steinhardt and University leadership to publicly support the NYU community and undertake an expedited review, as per the Faculty Handbook and Title IV, of Professor Miller’s intimidation tactics, abuses of authority, aggressions and microaggressions, and explicit hate speech, none of which are excused by academic freedom and First Amendment protections. If your review substantiates our claims, we ask that you publicly condemn his actions and take whatever further disciplinary measures are deemed appropriate. It is unacceptable to remain silent in the face of ongoing harm to our students. Further, we call upon the administration to establish stronger protocols and policies to protect students, staff, and nontenured faculty members from intimidation and harm.
Arjun Appadurai, Paulette Goddard Professor Deborah J. Borisoff, Professor
Stephen Duncombe, Professor Allen Feldman, Professor
Alexander R. Galloway, Professor
Lisa Gitelman, Professor
Radha S. Hegde, Professor
Nicholas Mirzoeff, Professor
Susan Murray, Professor
Arvind Rajagopal, Professor
Marita Sturken, Professor Aurora Wallace, Clinical Professor
Jamie Skye Bianco, Clinical Associate Professor
Paula Chakravartty, Associate Professor
Brett Gary, Associate Professor
Ted Magder, Associate Professor
Mara Mills, Associate Professor Juan Piñón, Associate Professor
Natasha Schüll, Associate Professor
Nicole Starosielski, Associate Professor
Isra Ali, Clinical Assistant Professor
Laine Nooney, Assistant Professor
Whitney (Whit) Pow, Assistant Professor
j. Siguru Wahutu, Assistant Professor Angela Xiao Wu, Assistant Professor
Response by Professor Mark Crispin Miller on Nov. 10 to the faculty petition against him.
Steinhardt School of Culture, Education, Human Development
Department of Media, Culture, and Communications
Nov. 10, 2020
I write to you, on the advice of counsel, about your letter of Oct. 21, 2020, demanding that Dean Knott order "an expedited review" of my long record of "intimidation tactics, abuses of authority, aggressions and microaggressions, and explicit hate speech," so as to determine whether "disciplinary measures" may be necessary. Since you argue that such brutal conduct nullifies my academic freedom, your letter is essentially a bid to have me fired.
In my own defense, therefore, I write to tell you that your letter is demonstrably untrue in nearly all its factual claims, and misleading in its various insinuations. Your characterization of my "conduct," in the classroom and online, is so starkly, and provably, at variance with reality that I think "pack of lies" would be appropriate, unless the untruths in your letter are not conscious falsehoods but delusions. In any case, I'm writing to refute your letter in detail, and urge you to retract it, for your own sakes as well as mine.
As I imply above, some few of your factual claims are true, and I will start with them. I do have "a highly visible website," it does note my affiliation with the university (though not as "prominently" as you suggest, since one must click on "About" to notice it), and I have taken various positions there. That's it. All your other factual claims are false. While I have circulated a petition, it does not "accus[e] the department of violating [my] academic freedom," but accuses NYU of doing so; and I am not "conducting an email campaign against the department." Like the petition, all my emails on the subject focus on NYU's violation of my academic freedom, nor do any of them take a stand "against" MCC (or, for that matter, NYU).
I turn now to the episode that started this ordeal, and your distorted version of it:
"Recently on his public blog and social media platforms, Professor Miller attacked a student who publicly objected to his criticism of mask usage in an in-classroom setting [sic], and used his position of authority to intimidate students who choose to wear masks and abide by NYU policy, New York State law, and CDC guidelines."
First of all, I certainly did not "intimidate students who choose to wear masks," nor, in that class, did I offer "criticism of mask usage." What I did do was encourage the class to read the scientific studies—eight randomized, controlled trials, conducted among health professionals over the last 15 years or so—finding that masks are ineffective against transmission of respiratory viruses. I also urged them to read more recent studies finding otherwise (the sort urged on my students by Dean Knott and Dr. Ciotoli), and offered guidance as to how to judge their soundness. In making that suggestion, I very clearly said that "I am not telling you not to wear masks"—that this was an intellectual exercise: an example of the kind of independent study that one must undertake to test the claims of any propaganda drive. I therefore "intimidate[d]" no one in that class, nor, though my own view of the mask mandates is highly critical (as I have studied it in depth), in class I did not push my view, but urged the students to look into it themselves, and make up their own minds—as I do in all my propaganda classes.
(Let me add, for your enlightenment, that the "CDC guidelines" that you regard as gospel truth abruptly changed in early April, the CDC, and Dr. Fauci, having, until then, echoed the consensus of the RCT's that I encouraged my students to examine; and that the WHO did likewise, until early June, when they too pivoted dramatically—for a given reason different from the one that Dr. Fauci offered for his turnaround. Such facts are highly relevant to any careful inquiry into this matter—the sort of inquiry I urge my students to attempt, and that your letter casts as heresy. As for your obeisance to "New York State law," let me add also that there is, a s of this writing, no such law, but just a set of guidelines from the governor.)
Moreover, that I "attacked a student who publicly objected to [my] criticism of mask usage" is also wholly false—an absolute inversion of the truth: i.e., that the student attacked me, on Twitter, demanding that NYU fire me. The student didn't say a word throughout the class discussion that so angered her (although I solicit argument in class), nor, clearly, did she bother reading any of those studies, but, after (by her own account) calling NYU's bias hotline to complain, took to Twitter to denounce not just what I had urged in class but several pieces noted on my website, treating them as self-evidently false, and, therefore, further grounds for my dismissal. How, and where, and when, I "attacked" her your letter fails to specify—as it could not, because I never did.
"Professor Miller went on to repeatedly name and identify the contact information of this student, opening an opportunity for cyberbullying and threatening communication toward the student, which subsequently occurred and continues."
This too is completely false. In my various responses to and observations on that uproar, I never named Ms. Jackson, nor did I ever "identify [her] contact information." It being Twitter, after all, she (obviously) named herself, and (obviously) posted her own contact information; and—it being Twitter—her tweets provoked attacks by others, which had nothing to do with me. (Her tweets also provoked attacks on me, as well as three media hit-pieces, by writers who didn't bother interviewing me.) My petition necessarily includes her tweet demanding that NYU fire me, as any full account of what transpired must do. That's the only time I've named her publicly, though her name did come up in one comment on the controversy, by a member of my list-serve, which I posted on my website, and which does not include her "contact information." That's it. To cast me as the aggressor in this case is as perverse as your accusing me of having attacked MCC, most of whose faculty are now attacking me at least as fiercely as more fiercely as Ms. Jackson did.
I turn now to your claims about the postings on my website. Nowhere on that site is there a single mention of Sandy Hook, nor have I ever publicly "denied" it. That subject has come up precisely twice in my propaganda classes, once when a student in my undergraduate propaganda class did her report on it, at her request. The single time I brought it up was in my MA propaganda course last year, during (if I remember right) the class discussion following the group of class reports on propaganda, pro and con, over gun control. In relation to the Parkland shooting, I mentioned that there is some troublingly compelling scholarship on Sandy Hook, and recommended it to anyone who might be interested in knowing more about it. My view is that we cannot simply rule out any argument that deviates from the official story, however outlandish it may seem, without first looking into it (unless it's physically impossible, like flat-earth speculation, or the claim that NASA runs a child-sex-slave colony on Mars). My students learn to check their impulse to dismiss alternative views and/or theories just because they sound unlikely on their face (which is to say, just because they'd rather not believe them), and to investigate them before deeming them impossible—a scientific attitude, and one on which a firm grasp of reality depends.
This brings me to the burden of your letter, which veers far beyond the crime of my in-class suggestion that the students read those scientific studies, to the sweeping charge that I'm a hateful, domineering crackpot—an image based on further falsehood, and a gross distortion of my views (as expressed not in the classroom, but online).
Nowhere on my website, or anywhere else, have I engaged in "direct mockery and ridicule of transgender individuals." That charge of transphobia was reviewed already by the OEO, earlier this year, after Nicole reported me for three brief online writings (that another colleague, unidentified, conveyed to her); and I was quickly exculpated (a clearance that you seem to find as heinous as Ms. Jackson found the OEO's failure to act promptly on her grievance). As I told the lawyers who questioned me, my writings on the subject of transgenderism are in no way expressions of some animus against "transgender individuals," but highly critical of transgender ideology, and its troubling real-world consequences: e.g., biological males competing in girls' and women's sports, or forcing admission to women's shelters and women's prisons—trends that I oppose on feminist grounds—and radical medical intervention in the sexual development of children, which I see as an egregious practice, violating informed consent (I'm on the board of the Alliance for Human Research Protection), and subjecting children to hormone therapies with drastic side effects, and even surgery, whose effects are irreversible. I oppose that just as strongly as I do conversion therapy—a position that's not hateful in the least: on the contrary. That transgender ideology has been aggressively promoted all throughout the corporate media, and backed by very powerful institutions, state and corporate (and with some funding by the likes of certain multibillionaires with large investments in Big Pharma), tells us that it's driven not by some elite commitment to "inclusion and diversity," but for other purposes—possibly eugenic purposes among them, as I note in that brief piece that you all find outrageous on its face, and am pursuing in further research on the subject of eugenics nowadays (rebranded, since the Holocaust, as "population reduction").
My own ready acceptance of "transgender individuals" as equals, whose rights and freedoms I unreservedly respect, is clear from my email exchange, last year, with Whitney Pow, when I learned they had decided to join the faculty. I wrote to welcome them, and we had a pleasant back-and-forth, ending with my recommending a book that I thought might be relevant to their research. This alone should make clear to any fair-minded person that I cannot be tagged as "transphobic" (and also makes me sorry that Whitney signed your letter, though I understand why she may have felt obliged).
In any case, whatever you may think of my critique of the transgender ideology—which we in academia should be able to discuss in depth, impartially, without reprisal—it provides no basis whatsoever for your wild insinuations that I'm given, in my classes, to ""intimidation tactics, abuses of authority, aggressions and microaggressions, and explicit hate speech," that I've somehow advocated "for an unsafe learning environment," and carried out "attacks on students and others in our community," including "staff and colleagues." While I've been highly critical of the administration, and NYU's Board of Trustees, for predatory practices in general, and "NYU 2031" in particular, and have been actively involved in efforts to expose those practices, for the good of the whole faculty, the students, and—therefore—the university itself (a record that the younger ones among you might explore), I never have, in any way, attacked a student, staff member or colleague here, or anywhere else I've taught since I earned my PhD in 1977; and so your claims that I have done so are indefensible (as many students, former and current, and other witnesses, are affirming in their letters to the dean).
Let me close by noting that, if any member of this faculty has been attacked, it is myself, and not only this year. As I informed the provost, and, at her suggestion, the OEO some weeks ago, after this mask controversy had blown up, and NYU sided against me, I've felt for some time, but especially this semester, that I'm in a hostile work environment. I've been told over the years, in confidence, by students, that some of you have disparaged me in private, and even warned them not to work with me. Those accounts, and some other things, have been duly noted by the OEO, which now has a record of my concerns, and their basis in reality—concerns that have now been bluntly vindicated by your groundless and malicious letter.
In light of all the untruths in that letter, whether they be conscious lies or fantasies, I ask that you now retract it, and issue an apology, so that the dean's review may end.
Mark Crispin Miller