Rutgers professor James Livingston has officially been sanctioned by the university for a series of anti-white Facebook rants made earlier this year. Campus free speech group FIRE is defending the embattled professor from the university.
Rutgers professor James Livingston came under fire earlier this year for a series of bizarre Facebook posts in which he berated the white race after an experience at a Harlem diner. His posts are similar in tone to bigoted remarks made about whites on Twitter by New York Times editorial board member Sarah Jeong.
“OK, officially, I now hate white people,” Livingston wrote in a Facebook rant in June. “I am a white people [sic], for God’s sake, but can we keep them — us — us out of my neighborhood? I just went to Harlem Shake on 124 and Lenox for a Classic burger to go, that would [be] my dinner, and the place is overrun with little Caucasian a**holes who know their parents will approve of anything they do. Slide around the floor, you little s**thead, sing loudly, you moron. Do what you want, nobody here is gonna restrict your right to be white.”
Livingston had his Twitter and Facebook accounts temporarily suspended in the aftermath of the posts. Additionally, Livingston was banned from the Harlem Shake by its two owners. In a statement, the diner’s owners told Livingston that they won’t tolerate his racism. “We ask that our name is removed from your rant because we do not want to have anything to do with you,” the owners said in a joint statement. “And yeah, we ask that you get your burgers somewhere else. We do not tolerate ‘racism’ either. We thrive on equality and fairness and have full intentions to keep it that way!”
In August, Rutgers announced that Livingston’s Facebook posts had violated the university’s Policy Prohibiting Discrimination and Harassment. It is not yet clear what punishment he will face from the university, if any.
The Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE) quickly firing back. In a letter to the university, FIRE argued that Professor Livingston, as an employee of a public institution, should be free to express himself as a private citizen without fear of institutional repercussions.
FIRE represents Professor James Livingston. We write today to express our grave concern about Rutgers University’s finding that Professor Livingston violated the institution’s Policy Prohibiting Discrimination and Harassment. Issued by the Office of Employment Equity and upheld on appeal by Associate Vice President Harry Agnostak, this finding violates Professor Livingston’s well-established First Amendment right to express himself as a private citizen on matters of public concern. Further, the decision’s untenable rationale poses a serious threat to
the academic freedom of Rutgers faculty and impermissibly hinders their ability to fulfill their essential role in our democracy. By capitulating to anonymous outrage generated by an internet mob rather than defending a faculty member’s right to freedom of expression, Rutgers has shamefully betrayed its obligation to its faculty and the public, trivialized actual racial harassment, and signaled to would-be censors nationwide that its faculty may be silenced at will and without resistance.
Breitbart News will continue to report on developments in this case.