The University of Massachusetts Boston is refusing to take responsibility for one of its professors calling Republicans Nazis during class and harassing a conservative student for her political beliefs.
Ester Shapiro, an Associate Professor of Psychology in the College of Liberal Arts according to UMass Boston’s website, was a guest speaker in a human rights course on Sept. 29 when a student says she berated her for not believing that President Donald Trump was akin to a Nazi.
The course is usually taught by Nada Mustafa Ali, a lecturer of women’s, gender, and sexuality studies, according to UMass.
The student, Mary O’Sullivan, recorded the exchange between herself and Shapiro on her phone.
In the video, Shapiro likens the Trump administration to Nazis and makes a series of similarly outlandish claims, including that white supremacy was “baked in” to the U.S. Constitution, “Republican militias with armbands” are going to poll booths and engaging in “voter suppression,” and that the president “is willing to talk in public of having sex with his daughter.”
O’Sullivan spoke to The Western Journal about the event and how the administrators at UMass have failed to hold Shapiro responsible for her actions.
“The question I initially asked my professor was ‘Can you please refer back to the slide where you’ve stated that the United States government are like Nazi Germans?'” O’Sullivan told The Western Journal.
Professor Shapiro responded by making the series of aforementioned accusations against President Trump and the Republican Party.
When O’Sullivan further questioned the logic and accuracy of Shapiro’s statements, the professor appeared to walk back some of her claims before shutting down the discussion altogether.
“I don’t think Donald Trump’s a Nazi,” O’Sullivan said, prompting an overly emotional response from Shapiro.
“Ok, alright, great Mary,” Shaprio aggressively responded. “This is not the debate I’d like to have. You asked me a question and let’s have this offline, ok? I’ve got to be done with Mary.”
“Alright, so maybe he’s not a Nazi,” she said before moving on, “maybe he’s just a fraud and a criminal.”
In O’Sullivan’s opinion, through its inaction and unwillingness to address the incident, UMass Boston is trying to protect Shapiro.
“They’re trying to protect the teacher. They’re not responding to me, they’re trying to do loopholes,” O’Sullivan continued.
“I’m not stopping.”
The student reached out to administration officials to report the incident, but did not hear back from anyone until the videos from the class, which O’Sullivan sent out to multiple news outlets, began showing up online.
Even after talking with a few officials, O’Sullivan still hasn’t been informed how the university plans to handle the incident or if Shapiro will face any consequences for using her platform at a public university to spout out partisan political talking points.
“It’s really mind-boggling that the school — I feel like they’re terrified of me or something, like can you just talk to me?” O’Sullivan told The Western Journal.
“I’m a student here. I paid money to be here.”
Following publication of this article, University of Massachusetts Boston Communications Director DeWayne Lehman said in an emailed statement to The Western Journal:
“The University of Massachusetts Boston takes pride in its faculty of extraordinarily qualified scholar-teachers and their deep commitment to presenting students with conceptual material designed to broaden their knowledge base, inspire analytical thinking, and challenge uncritical assumptions. The university is also fully committed to assuring free expression of opinion to all in its various communities (students, staff, faculty), encouraging civil discourse on controversial topics among all parties, and creating classroom climates that respect diversity of outlook. In the present case, the university is carefully reviewing the facts and will follow up as it deems appropriate, with due attention to the confidentiality of any individuals and disciplinary procedures.”
UPDATE, Oct. 30, 2020: This article has been updated with comment from the University of Massachusetts Boston. The remainder of the article, and its headline, remain as published.
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