FIRE friend Jay Bergman—a professor at Central Connecticut State University and an alumnus of Brandeis—shared with us an e-mail he sent to Brandeis Provost Marty Krauss regarding the university’s treatment of Professor Donald Hindley:
Dear Provost Krauss,
I have read what FIRE and Eugene Volokh have written about the Hindley case, and am appalled by the lack of due process Professor Hindley received, by the ridiculous lengths to which the Brandeis administration has gone to ensure that minority students not be made “uncomfortable” by what their professors and other students say in their classes, and by what appears to me to be the unconscionable treatment of a professor who has devoted nearly a half-century of his professional life to your university.
What is more, I fail to see how Professor Hindley’s use of the word “wetback,” in the context in which uttered it, could in any way be considered derogatory or hateful or racist.
Your handling of the Hindley Case is a disgrace to the good name of the Supreme Court Justice after whom the university is properly named. In light of the thought control you evidently believe is appropriate for Professor Hindley, perhaps Brandeis University should be renamed the University of North Korea.
I urge you in the strongest possible terms to drop the case and extend your apologies to Professor Hindley. The reputation of your university—which is mine as well—depends on it.
Thank you, Professor Bergman, for your compelling words on behalf of free speech and academic freedom at Brandeis. This case has also struck a chord with Brandeis’s own faculty; in a series of reports, Brandeis’s Committee on Faculty Rights and Responsibilities strongly and unanimously faulted the Brandeis administration for its mistreatment of Professor Hindley. Hopefully the Brandeis administration will wake up and realize that faculty at Brandeis and beyond are watching how the university treats its professors and that, as Professor Bergman stated, the university’s reputation truly depends upon the resolution of this case.