UC Davis Student Slams Professor Joshua Clover for Saying Cops ‘Need to Be Killed’

UC Davis Professor Joshua Clover
Joe Mabel/FLICKR

A student at UC Davis is speaking out against professor Joshua Clover for saying that cops “need to be killed.”

According to a report from the university’s student newspaper, Professor Joshua Clover of the University of California, Davis, is facing intense criticism from a student after it was revealed that Clover has a history of calling for the death of cops.

“I am thankful that every living cop will one day be dead, some by their own hand, some by others, too many of old age #letsnotmakemore,” Clover allegedly tweeted in November 2014. “I mean, it’s easier to shoot cops when their backs are turned, no?” Clover tweeted a month later in December 2014. Clover has since made his Twitter account private.

“People think that cops need to be reformed. They need to be killed,” added in a January 2016 interview.

Student Nick Irvin has tried to bring attention to the Clover’s past remarks, publishing a column in the student newspaper. The paper details his attempt to bring Clover’s bizarre statements to the attention of officials at the university. Gina Bloom, the chair of Clover’s academic department, praised his contribution to the UC Davis community before refusing to comment on Clover’s police comments.

But there were other avenues. I reached out to Gina Bloom, the interim chair of the English Department, about what she thought about Clover’s threats. She said that Clover is a “valued member of our department and the university community; a strong and popular teacher; and a well published scholar and poet whose work has been lauded across the world.” The chair ultimately refused to speak with me further because of my “flimsy evidence” and “inflammatory connections.” I contacted a few of Clover’s colleagues, hoping to gather insight about his views on law enforcement, but received no response.

Irwin also tried contacting Clover directly. Clover refused to answer Irwin’s questions about his controversial remarks on the police and said that America should abolish its police forces. He then told Irwin to direct further questions to the family of Michael Brown, who passed away in 2014 during an altercation with an officer in Ferguson, Missouri.

 “I think we can all agree that the most effective way to end any violence against officers is the complete and immediate abolition of the police,” he wrote me. His response suggested that he had no regrets about his remarks and would preserve them, as repugnant as they might appear to outsiders. His views would stand, even in the aftermath of Corona’s murder. Clover added that I “direct any further questions to the family of Michael Brown,” a reference to the fatal shooting in Ferguson, Missouri, that fed the Black Lives Matter movement. I couldn’t do anything else — soon after I contacted him, Clover set his Twitter account to private and refused to comment any further. That road was closed.

“When professors advocate murder, we all lose,” Irwin wrote, wrapping up his column. The column has sparked dozens of comments from readers. Many of the commenters have praised Irwin for his courage in confronting UC Davis over their tolerance of Clover’s calls for violence.

UC Davis announced this week that they are reviewing Clover’s conduct. According to a local news report, UC Davis Chancellor Gary May has asked the university’s legal team to conduct an investigation into Clover’s remarks.

In a statement, May addressed the public concerns surrounding Clover’s police remarks, writing that even Clover’s violent speech could be protected under the First Amendment. “The public expression of opinions, even those opinions considered controversial or abhorrent, enjoy a high level of protection under the first amendment, and tenured faculty at the University of California enjoy significant employment protections, particularly around their speech,” May wrote.

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