Thomas Klocek was an instructor at DePaul who was fired when he was found guilty of expressing support for Israel in a chat outside the classroom. (The proliferation of in-classroom indoctrination by the Left at DePaul has already been noted.) Klocek’s courses have ranged from Critical Thinking, to College Writing, to Languages and Cultures of the World. By all accounts, he was a popular teacher and his classes were always full. After 14 years of continuous employment at the Chicago-based college, Klocek was suspended without due process last September, and then stayed suspended – without pay – after that. Klocek was guilty of nothing more than expressing pro-Israel views in the face of extremist Palestinian propagandists on DePaul’s campus, including students and non-students proliferating the usual lies and canards about Israel and Rachel Corrie.
Despite having an unblemished record during that span, DePaul summarily dismissed Klocek from his duties after the school claimed that he had “insulted” and “demeaned” several Muslim students at a campus fair for extracurricular groups. Klocek had publicly expressed his belief that “strictly speaking, right now there is no such place as Palestine on the map. The Palestinian people were simply Arabs who lived in the West Bank and Gaza.” For our part, we seem to recall that Galileo was also persecuted by Church institutions for daring to tell the truth. (Klocek, by the way, is Roman Catholic).
The university contends that Klocek’s case “is not a case of academic freedom, but a situation of inappropriate behavior outside the classroom by a university employee,” according to Denise Mattson, the university spokesperson. Sure, while another DePaul professor has made a career out of insulting Holocaust survivors, promoting and cheering Holocaust deniers, and serving as the darling of neo-Nazi web sites. The “behavior” of Norman Finkelstein, the most openly anti-Semitic Jew on the planet, does not disturb these same DePaul Inquisitors.
DePaul has a large Muslim student population, as noted by the American Thinker. Klocek’s crime was to answer back to outrageous statements being made on campus by a radical Moslem. Klocek responded that there was a “qualitative difference between the Israel Army targeting known terrorists who have killed their own people…and suicide bombers targeting beaches, cafes, and even Seder dinners, killing indiscriminately Israelis, both Jew and Arab alike.” The suspended professor himself gives an excellent summary of the “Klocek Incident” here.
Since that time, Klocek’s firing has become the foremost symbol of the attempt by DePaul to limit free speech on campus and restrict it only to anti-American and anti-Semitic radicals. Klocek’s plight has become a cause celebre for those seeking to defend free speech and pluralism on American college campuses. The Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE) has repeatedly denounced DePaul’s behavior in the Klocek Affair. FIRE has given DePaul University a speech code rating of “Red,” the worst rating possible. (You can read more about this institution’s speech code ratings on this page.) Even some leftists have come out to protest the Klocek firing.
Meanwhile, DePaul University is getting sued by Thomas Klocek. Probably the best weblog that follows and documents the political shenanigans at DePaul is Marathon Pundit at http://marathonpundit.blogspot.com/. (Check for updates on the suit.)
DePaul is an excellent illustration of everything that is wrong in American institutions of higher education in general, and in some church-affiliated schools in particular. In pursuing its crusade to instill campus indoctrination and leftist Newthink, DePaul has abandoned any pretense of protecting academic freedom, while at the same time abandoning any pretense of maintaining standards of academic excellence and scholarship.
Schools: DePaul University