For Fresno State University, the headlines just keep getting worse.
As word spread Wednesday that the school had decided not to take disciplinary action against a foul-mouthed professor who launched a vicious attack on the late Barbara Bush shortly after her death, the voice of public opinion against the university was getting louder.
And the professor herself shows no signs of shutting up.
By Wednesday afternoon, nearly 63,000 signatures had been collected on a Change.org petition asking Fresno State to fire professor Randa Jarrar for her profane Twitter postings about Bush and her family.
That’s considerably more than the 25,000 signatures the petition’s organizers were looking for when it first launched, and a new goal of 75,000 seemed to be well within reach.
Meanwhile, angry alumni have made no secret about the fact the controversy just might mean donations being withheld — which could put a significant dent in the school’s finances.
In an interview with New York magazine published Tuesday, Jarrar said she “absolutely” stands by her vile words about the former first lady.
Oh, please. That’s a trope liberals pull out whenever they want to smear the United States or the west with the sins of history.
When 21st century Islamist terrorists murder countless civilians in the Middle East, Europe and the United States, liberals want to talk about the Crusades, slavery or the massacre at Wounded Knee.
It’s odd how they never want to “confront the past” when it’s liberal personalities or policies that are in question — say, the millions murdered under the leftist regimes of Stalin, Mao or Nazi Germany (Hitler’s thugs weren’t called National Socialists for nothing).
But neither logic nor honesty have ever been exactly the hallmarks of liberals like Jarrar, or her university’s president, Joseph Castro. So perhaps that kind of sloppy thinking is to be expected.
Jarrar, however, told New York magazine that she never expected her words to stir up the hornet’s nest they did. Living in the bubble of academia, she probably thought everyone would see it as normal to greet news of the death of a woman like Bush by tweeting, “I’m happy the witch is dead” or describing the former first last as “a generous and smart and amazing racist who, along with her husband, raised a war criminal.”
In his announcement Tuesday that the university would take no disciplinary action against Jarrar, Castro acknowledged her words were “disgraceful” and an “embarrassment to the university,” but said she was protected by the First Amendment from any reaction.
But the First Amendment wasn’t written to protect employment opportunities — or the cushy sinecures of overpaid academics from the consequences of their ignorance. The First Amendment also won’t make Fresno State’s embarrassed alumni open their checkbooks for their school’s next pledge drive.
In fact, some were expressing concerns about the university from the time Jarrar’s story first broke.
“It represents such an embarrassment to the university and the community,” one major donor, Ed Dunkel Jr., told The Fresno Bee last week. “It’s hard to believe this is an isolated thing that just happened. I have to imagine people previously knew of this person’s character and what she’s about.”
He’s no doubt right about that.
More to the point, the more Jarrar keeps opening her mouth, the more people are going to know about her character and “what she’s about. That will almost certainly generate more signatures on the petition to get her fired.
All of that just might be enough to change the university’s position — especially if Jarrar goes really off the wall into an extremist rant that’s too much for even an administrator like Castro to defend (and considering Jarrar’s past, that’s entirely possible).
If not, the best Fresno State can do right now is keep its head down and wait for the whole thing to blow over while Jarrar is away on a previously scheduled leave for the spring semester.
Because right now, the headlines just keep getting worse.
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