University of Hawaiʻi President David Lassner shared a message on May 19 to the UH campuses.

Students in a lecture hall

Some of you may have heard about a personal post by of one of our faculty members in a blog, managed by a major national professional association, that has received media attention. As a reminder, the opinions of individual faculty members exercising their free speech rights on open blogs do not necessarily represent the positions of the University of Hawaii.

In addition, as I have repeatedly affirmed, most recently this past February, the university stands firmly committed to providing a safe and inclusive work and learning environment, free of discrimination and intolerance.

We are also committed to the protection of constitutional rights of free expression and to diversity, including diversity of opinion. These commitments are stated plainly in our policies, including our employment policies, and have been longstanding and deeply held. I call on the entire UH community to help us all fulfill these commitments.

David Lassner
University of Hawaiʻi President

This Post Has 9 Comments
  1. David,
    I find your statement about free speech and inclusion to be quite frankly disingenuous.

    What you seem to be saying is that a white male professor who made statements saying that black females are a problem would be tolerated by the university because it is free speech. We both know that is false. Sure people have personal beliefs, but if they use their platforms from work, that type of racism sticks to the university.

  2. Dr. Lasher,

    Dr. Harrington, the racist math PhD, should be immediately fired. That post reflected her true feelings of resentment toward, and worse yet, a desire to quash the careers of, white men. For no more good reason except that their places could be taken by brown skinned people. NOTE THAT SHE DID NOT GO AFTER ASIAN PROFESSORS. Asians are well represented in the hierarchy of academia as are whites, a merit based placement I’m sure. But the evil white man must be put in his place. She is a bigot and should not be in a position of molding our young people.

    How are her white students going to feel in her classes? Do you or she think that a make-nice session will be enough to smooth things over? She resents the success of whites. White guys in particular.

    If you guys had a white professor call for the firing and demotion of black professors there would be no question of her termination.

    Please do the right thing and do your school a favor. Make HER be the one to get out the way.

    She disgraces UH.

    Sincerely,

    Maura Smith-Mitsky MD

    1. I believe you are referring to Dr. Piper Harron (not Dr. Harrington), who recently wrote a blog piece for the AMS website where she calls for white men to quit their jobs or ask for a demotion, and asks universities to “stop hiring white cis men […] until the problem goes away.”

  3. Dear Dr. Lassner,

    I agree that freedom of speech should be protected, and we value diversity of opinion, but hate speech should be not condoned in the process. Her words clearly constitute hate speech. Let me replace “white men” by “Jews” in her own words, to make it crystal clear. Note that Jews (like white males) are also over-represented in academia, so what if she argues…

    “What can universities do? Well, that’s easier. Stop hiring Jews (except as needed to get/retain people who are not Jews) until the problem goes away. If you think this is a bad or un-serious idea, your pro-Israel/pro-zionist bias is showing.”

    “If you are on a hiring committee, and you are looking at applicants and you see a stellar Jewish applicant, think long and hard about whether your department needs another Jew.”

    If the above sentences seem like hate speech, then her blog is hate speech also.

  4. “What can universities do? Well, that’s easier. Stop hiring white cis men (except as needed to get/retain people who are not white cis men) until the problem goes away. If you think this is a bad or un-serious idea, your sexism/racism/transphobia is showing … When the applications come in, remember society makes dominant applicants look better than they are. Society makes marginalized applicants look worse than they are. There is no objectivity. There is no meritocracy.”

    – Piper Harron, assistant math professor at University of Hawaii.

    How can you possibly post?

    “In addition, as I have repeatedly affirmed, most recently this past February, the university stands firmly committed to providing a safe and inclusive work and learning environment, free of discrimination and intolerance.”

    What she calls for is discrimination. What she calls for is intolerance. If a white professor posted that same article but swapped the words white with black I’m sure you would fire them.

    This is complete insanity that you defend her. To claim her right to “free speech” (Hate speech is not covered by free speech) and to claim your dedication to a University free of discrimination and intolerance are at complete odds!

    She needs to be fired for her hateful rhetoric IMMEDIATELY!!!

  5. I have filed a civil rights complaint with the Department of Education’s Office of Civil Rights against Piper Harron’s bigoted comments about white men. If a straight white male said their are too many jews in academia and all jews should be fired this would never be considered “free speech” or “ideological diversity” especially if it was made by a non-tenured temporary professor. Piper needs to be fired. How can any white male student trust her to grade their papers fairly after she wrote she hates talking to white men because it is oppressive when they talk. She referred to white men talking as “whitesplaining” and “mansplaining” as if white men don’t have the right to speak unless spoken too David you are a coward and are too scared to hold a black woman to the same standards you would hold white men to.

  6. I commend your commitment to the tolerance of free speech, even hate speech.

    Personally, I like to know who my enemies are and prefer they be allowed to announce themselves. So I do NOT advocate the firing of Prof. Harron, as long as members of the groups she hates (whites, males, non-trans persons and their allies) have access to classes where they will not be punished for accidents of their birth or be subjected to her bigotry. (Obviously, though, she can’t be allowed to serve on any University committee that influences hiring decisions, peer-review panels, grant administration or any other position where she could act on her hatred of these groups by sabotaging their careers.)

    If only I believed you meant it, though. But clearly you do not, because even within this brief statement you hasten to recite the prevailing view in academia that “discrimination and intolerance” will NOT be tolerated, while you at the same time tolerate Prof. Harron’s announcement that she discriminates and advocates others do so. So we now know that at the University of Hawaii “all animals are equal but some animals are more equal than others” in George Orwell’s prophetic words.

  7. “In addition, as I have repeatedly affirmed, most recently this past February, the university stands firmly committed to providing a safe and inclusive work and learning environment, free of discrimination and intolerance.”

    So, this means you’ve fired Piper Harron for creating a non-inclusive discriminatory and intolerant place of learning? Or, are you just lying to the public?

  8. Dear Dr. Lassner,

    Any comment on the new statements by Dr. Piper Harron, released recently by the Daily Caller (http://dailycaller.com/2017/07/01/university-prof-i-dont-trust-white-people-they-need-to-lose-more/) where she is quoted saying that

    “I don’t trust white people” and
    “cis het white people need to lose more,” and
    “As long as police are trained to murder, they will never be convicted.”

    If any other faculty member was saying the same statements about African-Americans or Jews instead of about white people, I believe the response would be quite different and swift.

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