Tenure Protects Hate Speech Directed At Barbara Bush
A tenured professor at a public school raised in the Middle East is defending her comments calling the late Barbara Bush a racist who reared a war criminal. Her job will likely remain safe.
Earlier this morning, Barbara Bush was announced to have died at the age of 92. In the last few days she announced that she would no longer seek treatment for her congestive heart failure, COPD and Graves’ disease. President George W. Bush announced:
“My dear mother has passed on at age 92. Laura, Barbara, Jenna, and I are sad, but our souls are settled because we know her was… I’m a lucky man that Barbara Bush was my mother. Our family will miss her dearly, and we thank you all for your prayers and good wishes.”
And this is what tenured Fresno State Prof. Randa Jarrar wrote:
When people start pushing back on the outrageous comments, she wrote that as a tenured professor making $100,000 a year she will “never be fired.” She tagged in the school’s president Joseph Castro before tweeting this:
“What I love about being an American professor is my right to free speech, and what I love about Fresno State is that I always feel protected and at home here.”
After a few hours, she closed her account and wrote:
“Currently on leave from Fresno State. This is my private account and represents my opinions.”
The school confirmed that she had been on leave for all semester, since January.
School Responds: Sorry, But She’s Safe
Fresno State’s president Joseph Castro soon gave an official response to everyone who felt that Jarrar had acted poorly:
“On behalf of Fresno State, I extend my deepest condolences to the Bush family on the loss of our former First Lady, Barbara Bush. We share the deep concerns expressed by others over the personal comments made today by professor Randa Jarrar, a professor in the English Department at Fresno State. Her statements were made as a private citizen, not as a representative at Fresno State.”
— Fresno State (@Fresno_State) April 18, 2018
California State University in Fresno, also known as Fresno State is a public research university and counts as one of the 23 campuses that make up the state’s university system. It is located in Fresno, three hours drive north of Los Angeles and south of San Francisco. The school has approximately 25,000 students and it was founded in 1911. Oddly, the school also has its own orchards and vineyards and was the first American school to start a commercial winery.
Randa is the author of two books, one called A Map Of Home and the other is Him, Me, Muhammad Ali. She was born in Chicago in 1978 to parents of Egyptian, Greek and Palestinian heritage. She grew up in both Kuwait and Egypt but moved back to the States in 1991 after the Gulf War. She earned degrees in Creative Writing and Middle Eastern Studies,and as such is qualified to be nothing but a professor.
Earlier this year Randa wrote for Bitch Magazine in her own Ask Auntie Randa column. Here’s a snippet from one where she was asked about how she managed to be so brave in writing about sex, and how this impacts her relationship with her conservative parents and her son, whom she had at the age of 18 and blamed on not being allowed access to birth control pills. Poor kid — imagine your mother saying you only exist because they weren’t able to avoid you! Here’s part of her very long, tone-deaf answer:
“My father was, and remains, upset that I write about sex. He didn’t speak to me for seven years after my first book came out. Most recently, he was upset at the mention of a vibrator in my newest book, and didn’t respond to my texts for a few weeks. When I’ve talked to him about this, he said that he felt that my inclusion of sex in my writing made the writing smut; pornography; unnecessary. When I’ve tried to explain to him that I believe it is necessary, and that he probably shouldn’t read my books or essays, my mother intervenes and says, but maybe you can write about something else.”
It’s not only the Bush family she has troubles with. Sounds like she doesn’t much like her own, either.
Two Barbara Bushes In The Family
Last year, a member of the Bush family spoke in defense of Planned Parenthood. Since the speaker was Barbara Pierce Bush, the daughter of George W. Bush, there was some confusion between her and her grandmother Barbara.
“I am proud to stand with Planned Parenthood not only because women, regardless of where they are from, deserve to live dignified, healthy lives, [but] … because it’s a really good investment. We know that when women are healthy, their families and their children are healthier too.”
Sources: Bitch Magazine, Daily Mail, Fresno Bee