Statement from Dean of the College of Ethnic Studies Kenneth P. Monteiro
Kenneth P. Monteiro, Ph.D.
October 16, 2016
The College of Ethnic Studies has already taken a strong stand supporting free expression for all, even and especially in the face of disagreement. We support this as a pillar of a democratic society and a liberation-anchored liberal education. Expressions also have consequences and responsibilities. Thus, we have also taken a strong stand against those who use their expressions as weapons of cruelty and injustice, even when their acts may be technically legal or even socially sanctioned.
On Friday, October 14, 2016, San Francisco State and other university campuses were strategically targeted, assaulted and wounded by nationally based groups that are widely perceived as employing malicious tactics to harm, intimidate and silence, while draping their attacks in the ruse of protecting the vulnerable and carefully crafting them to be protected by the 1st Amendment. They identified themselves on their posters as the Horowitz Freedom Center and the Canary Mission. I am pleased that our campus president promptly and effectively rebuked their acts.
They dishonestly manipulate national, religious and cultural symbols to attempt to coerce agreement from those who have sincere relationships to those symbols but do not share their hatred. The tactics are familiar from history and, unfortunately. are quite rampant in many current political forums including our current national elections. These are the tactics of tyrants and worse, and they make everyone less safe.
Specifically, very professionally designed and equally professionally epoxied posters on our campus falsely characterized those who criticized the policies of the Israeli government—a right that we in the United States of America reserve even for criticizing our own government—with “#JewHatred”, or labeling them members of terrorist groups. Some of the posters targeted one of our faculty members and a number of our students in an apparently inflammatory and threatening manner.
We will not be bamboozled, bullied or silenced. Though these groups raise the symbols of Judaism and Jewish culture, we are not fooled. They do not represent Judaism any more than the Klan represents Christendom. Though they hide behind the apparent legal protection for their acts, we clearly understand that throughout history many atrocities were legal and even societally sanctioned when they were committed. Therefore we will speak back and resist those who would oppress, even those disguised as liberators, especially those who would kidnap and corrupt the language of justice in such an unjust manner.
We will recommit ourselves as educators to use knowledge to dissolve ignorance, understanding to counter hate, and wisdom to elevate us above the gutters into which such groups would like to drag us.