Monday, July 24, 2017

Cal State Lecturer Reinstated, Victory for Academic Freedom

Cal State Lecturer Reinstated, Victory for Academic Freedom:

Cal State Lecturer Reinstated, Victory for Academic Freedom

CSU lecturer Eric Canin (center) addresses supporters at a rally. Photo: California Faculty Association

A Cal State Fullerton lecturer will return to his job this fall after his union, the California Faculty Association (CFA), laid bare the false accusations made against him by a right-wing student group. His return to the classroom marks a victory for faculty’s rights to academic freedom and free speech, CFA leaders said.
“Make no mistake, CFA will stridently defend our faculty who are under attack by forces who have contempt for the university and for free inquiry,” CFA President Jennifer Eagan told Cal State University trustees last week. “Our successful defense of Dr. Canin speaks to CFA’s commitment to protecting all members of the campus community from the new wave of attacks on academic freedom and free speech…”
Eric Canin, a 20-year instructor of anthropology at Fullerton, had been accused of hitting a student and interfering with the free speech of students during a Campus Republicans counter protest in February. But Canin denied it, and videos taken at the event did not show the alleged assault. (One photo showed Canin in a headlock by a student.) Still, he was quickly vilified on right-wing blogs, which called for his firing.
“When the incident happened, nobody really stopped, especially the students, to ask themselves whether what they said happened actually happened,” Canin told Inside Higher Ed. “The College Republicans put it online, and soon Breitbart had it and The Washington Times and other right-wing media, without a shred of evidence. It’s a simple yet sophisticated use of media … and this is not an isolated incident.”
Fullerton fired Canin after a short investigation, which CFA quickly challenged. The case was assigned an independent arbitrator, who ruled last week that the evidence showed Canin “did not engage in anything resembling a fight and did not have any conscious intent to cause any harm to the students in question.” It is possible, she wrote, that Canin grabbed a protester’s sign—a charge that Canin denies.

The Front Lines of Free Speech

That the “alternative fact,” as Canin calls it, was so quickly accepted and disseminated Cal State Lecturer Reinstated, Victory for Academic Freedom:

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