A note from FIRE on Hamline fracas, and a site where you can write to the University’s president.

January 9, 2023 • 12:45 pm

I just wanted to pass along this email I got from FIRE (the Foundation for Individual Rights and Expression), for it contains a link to a page where you can sent an email directly to Hamline’s President Fayneese Miller about the Islamic painting fracas that prioritized faux blasphemy and faux offense over academic freedom. I gather that Hamline is desperately trying to avoid the national spotlight about what it did, and I see it as the job of academic freedom advocates to keep that light shining.

There are also some other links you may want to read. I’ve put the email link in bold (hard to see: it’s in the first bullet point) for anyone who wants to write directly to Hamline’s president. All you have to do is fill in your name and email, and, if you wish, modify or add to FIRE’s boilerplate letter at the site.

Good Morning,Last week, you took the time to stand up for Erika López Prater’s academic freedom rights after Hamline University’s shocking decision to fire the adjunct art history instructor for showing relevant art in class. Over the weekend, Dr. López Prater came forward and told her side of the story in the New York Times.We’ve seen a remarkable show of support from you and others, and wanted to share what’s been happening:

This remains a developing story. But because of you, Hamline feels the pressure to do what’s right: restore the instructor to the classroom. To stay up to date on any breaking news regarding this case, please check out FIRE’s Newsdesk and subscribe to our social media channels. We will also keep you updated on big developments via email. Thank you again for joining us in the fight for academic and intellectual freedom. Speaking freely,Connor MurnaneDirector of Engagement and MobilizationFoundation for Individual Rights and Expression P.S. Please feel free to forward this email, and share your thoughts about the case on social media.

9 thoughts on “A note from FIRE on Hamline fracas, and a site where you can write to the University’s president.

  1. Signed. Thanks for keeping us up to date!

    Many states have at-will employment. Does an untenured professor have any rights?

  2. A basic question: How does one sign the letter from FIRE? Is it a matter of using their email address and to say in the body of the email that I wish to sign the letter?

  3. My note to the Hamline big chief concluded with this paragraph:

    “I trust we can count on Hamline to dismiss any of its Biology faculty who discuss the theory of evolution through natural selection, a view that is offensive to believers in the biblical creation story; and to dismiss any Astronomy faculty who
    discuss the structure of the solar system, a concept forbidden by the Holy Office of the Roman Catholic Church in its proceedings against Galileo Galilei in 1615 and 1633; and to dismiss its entire Physics faculty, who disseminate a subject founded by the aforementioned Galileo.”

    1. It isn’t just Christians who object to those subjects; some Muslims do too. I doubt that the University would worry about offending Christians or Jews, but what happens the first time a Muslim objects?

  4. Please forgive my cynicism, but do we have information that Hamline actually “feels the pressure to do what’s right: restore the instructor to the classroom?”

    1. No, they will just double down and there is no recourse as with Oberlin. The best outcome is that the Erika López Prater gets hired elsewhere.

        1. “At least I tried!!”, said R P McMurphy.

          If nothing else, the publicity exposes the virulently censorious nature of religious fanatics. Who also play the race card despite having no connection whatsoever with American slavery.

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