Shock Jock or English Prof (Forgot to Publish Sooner)

We have heard and talked about Dr. Salaita, his employment situation and his tweets.  Maybe Dr. Salaita was not hungry enough for his new job.  Maybe he woke up one morning and decided he needed to take a more aggressive tack along his course of discussing Israel.  Or, he listened to Howard Stern one morning and enough was enough, he could do that kind of stuff with out the rest of the on-air personalities that Stern uses.  That was it, he could be a shock jock!

Whatever the process of thought behind his subsequent actions was, I doubt that it included the mental picture of his hiring packet being read in the same light as his tweets, or even by the same people.  When children begin to explore the more coarse boundaries of language use they might first try it around other kids, teachers, and lastly parents.  Why?  Maybe they are aware that these words have been deemed bad and would expect to receive some sort of punishment for their use.  Why then, would a professor with tenure from an English department decide to debase his political message with their use.

Dr. Salaita certainly has the freedom to make whatever sort of speech in whatever format he chooses.  He does not, however, have the freedom from judgement.  Universities often boast about their tolerance and embracing different opinions and views.  They typically do not brag about supporting or housing loud and coarse messages about opinions that may be counter to culture.  After hearing of the experiences that students have had in his class, I am surprised that Dr. Salaita would post and re-post short quips to get attention like a toddler with a new bad word to use.  While they are only words, the words that he uses to get across his point are not on the level of character necessary for the job for which he was being considered.  I am not at all surprised that any university would reconsider bestowing upon him the honor of tenure.

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